99-Year-Old Volunteers – Still Going Strong

Mary Guglielmo was born on May 11, 1917, in New York City. Mary Alsing was born 16 days later in Ontario, Canada. Their lives began far apart and took different paths, but decades ago they both wound up in the same place: as members of the volunteer corps at Johnson Memorial Hospital.”

That’s the opening paragraph of a story in The Hartford Courant highlighting the service of two women who have been volunteering at a rural hospital not too far from my house.

When I started looking for stories to share as part of WATWB, this one caught my attention. I know that hospital. I drive by it often. I’ve been to the Emergency Room of this hospital several times. If you read the story, you will read about how important the hospital’s volunteers are to its continuing operations.

Volunteering sounds vague. It’s hard to understand and it’s often hard to explain. If you volunteer for anything and people ask you what that means, you might fall back on giving examples. Maybe it’s helping out at church, maybe serving meals in town, maybe visiting schools to add some real-world experience to a textbook view of life.

Notice that “giving money” isn’t in that list.

We all have various amounts of money. The amount we have changes during our life. But we all, always have the same amount of time. What you do with your time says a lot about who you are. Maybe you listen to someone who needs to talk. Maybe you serve food, read to children, stop and give directions, hold a door or help someone with housework. Maybe you sign-up and serve scheduled hours at a hospital, like Mary and Mary.

Guglielmo, who lives in Stafford, has logged more than 24,000 volunteer hours, a record at the hospital. Alsing, who lives in Somers, is the longest-serving volunteer, having served at Johnson for 40 years.”

I’ll close by thanking the volunteers who are co-hosting this blogfest. Co-hosting takes time. I didn’t have enough time to help at that level, but I agreed to write a post, to join the group and spread the word. I’m glad I did. It caused me to pay attention to Marys’ story and that made me feel better.

I’ll see you again on April 28th.

This post is part of the We Are The World Blogfest

The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there, the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope and the resilience of the human spirit. With your help, we hope to change the current landscape of social media, blogs, and news.


  1. I’ve stopped watching national news on a daily basis. I can’t take it. For 30 minutes, there is death and despair interspersed with ads for medications with side effects that are worse than the original condition. Once they are done with those ads, they add in those that combat the effects of all those drugs on your body. Once you’re endured about 28 minutes, they show you 45 seconds of something positive. I choose not to inflict that negativity on myself. I choose Mary and Mary. Thank you for sharing their story with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Judy. It’s unbelievable how hard it is to find these stories. I thought I would set up a pile of them to work from, but this is all I was able to gather for March. I know that there are more good stories in the world, but they don’t sell beer and drugs, so they aren’t going to make the news. Like you, I stopped watching. I guess I better start looking for a story fr April :)

      Have a great weekend. I hope you’re not getting snow today. We seem to be heading for rain and something they can’t quite figure out.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, I could only hope to be a 99 year old Mary volunteer. Those two women are fabulous and I love the story of how their lives brought them to the hospital in Hartford. Wonderful story Dan. I can’t say enough about how much volunteerism has a positive effect on the mind, body soul and those you serve…Mary and Mary are perfect examples.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Helping others always makes us feel good. I love the fact that Mary basically barged into the Board of Ed on a day she was stuck in Hartford. Two amazing stories. You can make 99, I’m sure of it :)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John. I know you know Damyanti – she’s the one who got me started down this path. Even thought it breaks my four-posts-a-week rule, it’s only one week each month and it’s a good cause.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Two wonderful women indeed. I was touched by Guglielmo having logged more than 24000 volunteer hours. That is equivalent to working doing 24 hours a day for nearly three years nonstop. My blessings to her!
    Thank you Dan for sharing this story.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Omi, well, one thing that this posting showed me is that I need to slow down. I thought I read it then as I was checking for the link I saw they were 99 Years old! Whoa! Good story, and yes to volunteering. We can all do it in our own way at different times in our lives, from family to friends to community. Posting this link on my FB page.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, they’re wonderful, and still going at 99! They are an inspiration.

    My Doctor is located in the hospital and I seldom need to go in. Knocking on wood now! :) I don’t know my way around there too well. If I need to go to some other place in the hospital for a test or pick up a prescription on a different floor than I normally do the volunteers are who I look to for help when I need finding my way around. I’m so thankful they’re there!

    Thanks for sharing this story Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful story! Giving of one’s time is truly a gift and sadly it’s often overlooked. I admire her dedication and I’m so glad you’ve given her some well-deserved recognition! :) Thanks so much for sharing! #WATWB

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dan, how wonderful to read this story. Thank YOU so much! I’ve begun on my blog to post uplifting words and encouragement to turn from the heaviness and focus on the good. I have had volunteer experience and it just leaves you feeling so darn good inside. Thank goodness more of us have stopped watching the news … we have in this house. I have not for years and hubby just lately (thank God!) has stopped too. Perhaps if more of us focused on positive uplifting stories and walked away from the news, the world at large would get the hint. When and I am saying when the news companies start loosing money because of falling ratings, well, gee, perhaps GOOD news will be the order of the day. I cannot thank you enough for this post. You’ve given me hope that more people are taking positive action and turning their backs on the negative garbage and instead returning to decent human morality. NICE! <3

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Good story coming tomorrow on Petals, Dan. I am SO DONE with the garbage. I’ve gone through weeks of healing (emotionally) and now am SO ready for GOOD stories. Let’s rock this world!! :)

        Liked by 1 person

  8. “We all have various amounts of money. The amount we have changes during our life. But we all, always have the same amount of time. What you do with your time says a lot about who you are. ”

    Yes to this.

    We have an 87-year-old at our soup kitchen here in Singapore. She drives up in a Rolls-royce, Has immaculately painted nails, wears a smart apron, and cuts piles of vegetables every single morning from 10 am to noon, without any noise or fanfare. I have mad respect for her.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. During my years at Cape Cod Hospital, I was constantly amazed at the work ethic of our volunteers. I’d say 90% of them were retired senior citizens. Some say at the helpdesk and answered phones, others at the gift shop, but a majority of them did patient transport. Physical labor… pushing patients from one end of the hospital to another on stretchers or in wheelchairs all day long. And all they got out of it was a voucher for a free cup of coffee. Amazing to see…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I get inspired by elderly people extending their time to help volunteer and support causes. My 88 year old friend here in the building, Dee, delivers Meals on Wheels. She gets awards every year from.one organization to another. She deserves them completely! <3 she has a heart of gold.

    Liked by 1 person

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