55 PLUS - Volunteering a way to meet people

Get involved in your community and the activities it offers.

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Marta Dilworth talks about volunteering and staying active in the community.

Tired of being alone? Maybe getting involved in community and volunteering is a way to meet more people. The very sociable Marta Dilworth decided it is a great way to meet new people and give back to the community. It's a win-win situation.

She moved here from Anacortes, Wash., to be close to her daughters and grandchildren, and hadn't met very many others. A solution for her was to find a way to help out, socialize and meet some new people. Volunteering was something that fit the bill.

"So, I started volunteering at St. Mary's Hospital gift shop, to help me meet people. Then I joined a women's Christian prayer group that meets once a week; we share our life experiences."

Dilworth enjoys sharing with others, finding satisfaction in helping in a variety of ways. Her activities include civic organizations, helping the elderly and generally filling in where help is needed. She gets plenty of variety: some organizing here, some chauffeuring there. She often provides transportation for those needing to get to appointments in the Tri-Cities.

"Everybody needs help from time to time. That's the way we get along alone is to help one another," she said.

A devoted advocate for the elderly, she also volunteers with the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program through the Blue Mountain Action Council. "Can anyone go 30 days without a loving touch? The elderly, many of them are alone and do go without any contact. Through the Ombudsman program, I learned about the law and rights of people."

It takes plenty of people working behind the scenes to pull off a huge community event, many of them are volunteers like Dilworth. "Last year I volunteered with the Chamber of Commerce. I worked with the Balloon Stampede. I had such a good time and met so many people. It was great to be involved in the background of such a big event. I learned so much about all the people in the background working on something like that."

This summer was the first time she worked on the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Festival. This was a big success for her as well. "It was so much fun," she said. "We need to bring in more of the young blood of Walla Walla and give credit where it's due. It's not all about wine in Walla Walla, onions were here first. Give them plenty of credit, it's even the state vegetable now."

She's interested in so many things, she stays involved in many areas.

"It's a choice when you retire to sit and wait to die or become active and interested in your world. When you retire you're not needed in the way you were used to, you've stepped out of that flow. So you need to create a new flow for yourself," she said.

In addition to raising a family, her career background was as an executive assistant with a company installing underwater power and communication cable before fiber optics. She retired about seven years ago and she knew she needed to stay active and busy.

Her hobbies include quilting, all kinds of needlework, reading and going for walks. "I love to find new places to explore," she said. Her little dog Dixie Belle helps her get out of the house and meet people. They get exercise and Dilworth gets to chat with people she meets.

She used to patrol crosswalks at Edison Elementary School. "Roosevelt and Alder used to be so awful. Then they got the traffic light in there and that helped. We kept all our little ones safe. It's so much fun to get to know the children, get up early in the morning, get out in touch with the world. How can you not smile when all these little kids come trooping out?"

"I take the small, back roads, there's so many things you can do," she said. Dilworth also attends many lectures and concerts. "If you look for what's there, you'll find it."

Dilworth hasn't been to Tollgate yet, that's on her list. And she enjoys still being close to the ocean. "I love the Oregon coast. I grew up on the Atlantic coast, on the Jersey shore, where you could go barefoot out in the water."

Her future plans include getting involved with more water ecology programs and staying actively involved for as long as she can.

"Companionship is not going to knock on your door, you have to look for it," she said. Dilworth still has her "inability to say ‘no,' all I have to do is just be there and my hand is in the air."

Karlene Ponti can be reached at 509-526-8324 or by e-mail at karleneponti@wwub.com.

Tired of being alone? Maybe getting involved in community and volunteering is a way to meet more people. The very sociable Marta Dilworth decided it is a great way to meet new people and give back to the community. It's a win-win situation.

She moved here from Anacortes, Wash., to be close to her daughters and grandchildren, and hadn't met very many others. A solution for her was to find a way to help out, socialize and meet some new people. Volunteering was something that fit the bill.

"So, I started volunteering at St. Mary's Hospital gift shop, to help me meet people. Then I joined a women's Christian prayer group that meets once a week; we share our life experiences."

Dilworth enjoys sharing with others, finding satisfaction in helping in a variety of ways. Her activities include civic organizations, helping the elderly and generally filling in where help is needed. She gets plenty of variety: some organizing here, some chauffeuring there. She often provides transportation for those needing to get to appointments in the Tri-Cities.

"Everybody needs help from time to time. That's the way we get along alone is to help one another," she said.

A devoted advocate for the elderly, she also volunteers with the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program through the Blue Mountain Action Council. "Can anyone go 30 days without a loving touch? The elderly, many of them are alone and do go without any contact. Through the Ombudsman program, I learned about the law and rights of people."

It takes plenty of people working behind the scenes to pull off a huge community event, many of them are volunteers like Dilworth. "Last year I volunteered with the Chamber of Commerce. I worked with the Balloon Stampede. I had such a good time and met so many people. It was great to be involved in the background of such a big event. I learned so much about all the people in the background working on something like that."

This summer was the first time she worked on the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Festival. This was a big success for her as well. "It was so much fun," she said. "We need to bring in more of the young blood of Walla Walla and give credit where it's due. It's not all about wine in Walla Walla, onions were here first. Give them plenty of credit, it's even the state vegetable now."

She's interested in so many things, she stays involved in many areas.

"It's a choice when you retire to sit and wait to die or become active and interested in your world. When you retire you're not needed in the way you were used to, you've stepped out of that flow. So you need to create a new flow for yourself," she said.

In addition to raising a family, her career background was as an executive assistant with a company installing underwater power and communication cable before fiber optics. She retired about seven years ago and she knew she needed to stay active and busy.

Her hobbies include quilting, all kinds of needlework, reading and going for walks. "I love to find new places to explore," she said. Her little dog Dixie Belle helps her get out of the house and meet people. They get exercise and Dilworth gets to chat with people she meets.

She used to patrol crosswalks at Edison Elementary School. "Roosevelt and Alder used to be so awful. Then they got the traffic light in there and that helped. We kept all our little ones safe. It's so much fun to get to know the children, get up early in the morning, get out in touch with the world. How can you not smile when all these little kids come trooping out?"

"I take the small, back roads, there's so many things you can do," she said. Dilworth also attends many lectures and concerts. "If you look for what's there, you'll find it."

Dilworth hasn't been to Tollgate yet, that's on her list. And she enjoys still being close to the ocean. "I love the Oregon coast. I grew up on the Atlantic coast, on the Jersey shore, where you could go barefoot out in the water."

Her future plans include getting involved with more water ecology programs and staying actively involved for as long as she can.

"Companionship is not going to knock on your door, you have to look for it," she said. Dilworth still has her "inability to say ‘no,' all I have to do is just be there and my hand is in the air."

Karlene Ponti can be reached at 509-526-8324 or by e-mail at karleneponti@wwub.com.

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