November 5, 2013

RSVP Lead With Experience

By Bill Sedlacek
Retired and Senior Volunteer Program
of Eastern Iowa and Western Illnois

Pat Flood: Continuing her Mission to Serve

Pat Flood’s faith is not just a Sunday sort of thing. She believes God gave her strength and directed her toward a career helping others as a nursing home activities director. Now that she is retired, He has further plans for her to
continue helping others with a full plate of volunteer jobs.

Pat was an activities director at the Good Samaritan Village in Geneseo for 31 years, helping to keep the folks there busy and entertained. Sadly, soon after she retired in 2011, her husband of 46 years, Ron, passed away. Ron, who worked as a DSL technician at Frontier Communications, also devoted his time and effort by volunteering with the Lions, rising to the post of Governor of his Illinois area clubs.
Pat is justly proud of the $1,000 that was contributed to his memorial and is being used in Lion programs.

After Ron passed, Pat found herself in a situation familiar to many of us. Not wanting to care for both the inside and outside of the house by herself, she decided to move to an apartment in Moline. Moving to an apartment that was significantly smaller than the family home, she encountered another situation equally familiar to many of us seniors; “What do we keep, and what do we sell or give to the kids? Looking around her apartment, I must say she downsized pretty well, and while there are a lot of mementos of her life in the apartment, it is not cluttered, but bright and cheery.

Shortly after moving, Pat saw an article in the newspaper about the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and decided to ask what opportunities were available. She connected with Julie Ross at RSVP and soon had a list of programs that needed volunteers. Pat was impressed with Julie and by the scope and range of opportunities, as well as the lack of pressure to volunteer for any one program. Like RSVP emphasizes, she was free to choose what opportunities interested her.

That really started a snowball effect. Now Pat is involved with volunteer work both within the framework of RSVP and through other groups, helping to meet the needs of those folks that our society is not otherwise meeting. If my count is correct, Pat is involved in 10 programs. She teaches sewing skills for the World Relief Foundation through the Broadway Presbyterian Church. She volunteers at both the Silvis Lighthouse and Davenport Silvercrest assisting living facilities, doing trivia, exercise classes and crafts. She belongs to the Pilot Club, an organization that helps those dealing with head injuries and provides information on safety procedures. Pat also helps young women in the “Dress for Success” program, which teaches proper personal habits and gives wardrobe advice to women in or just joining the workforce. She is a member of the Moline Activity Center and helps out there. Pat is also active in her church, the New Hope Foursquare Church, working the reception desk and attending Bible study groups. Pat is also involved in the “Binky Patrol,” which provides blankets to children and in a separate program, she sends cards to terminally ill children. If that is not enough, she, as an accomplished seamstress, still sews for others. She has been sewing since she was seven, under the direction of her mother who sewed all the clothes for her sisters and her.

Pat could not readily come up with an estimate of how many hours a month she volunteers, but I would guess it is close to the hours many work at a paid job. I guess God is still guiding her down the road and telling her to go help others. Our society is a better place for His guidance and her work.

Pat provides this advice for anyone considering volunteering, “Volunteering is very rewarding and people need people. TRY IT.” We heartily agree for more information on volunteer opportunities contact the RSVP office (309) 793-4425 or email rsvp@wiaaa.org. We’re on the Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/RSVP-of-Eastern-Iowa-and-Western-Illinois/179432829186.

Filed Under: Community