To interview Elaine and Leonard is the same as sitting with two long-time friends. Woven into their stories about volunteering with Catholic Community Services was a thread of caring, loving, helping, giving, sharing and always looking forward to the next opportunity. Elaine and Leonard have been providing their time, talents, skills and donations for CCS for 20 years. Leonard remembers the first time he volunteered for the Father Taaffe Food Booth at Oktoberfest in Mt. Angel. Leonard was greeted by a very nice quiet gentleman who was possibly going to place an order. Leonard simply asked – “Well, who are you?” It was none other than Father Taaffe. Leonard chuckled recalling their first meeting and knew it would not be their last. Since that time Leonard has been working the booth in one way or another and has sweet memories each time he enters.
Elaine shares the same affection for Father Taaffe having worked at the Birthright Center for many years as well as local food banks. It’s always about giving to others not only in tangible ways – but with lots of love.
They both have volunteered their time in helping prepare gift baskets and other items for sponsors and donors – even though they fall into those categories themselves. They love to challenge the “young folks” to see who can fill the most baskets or wine bags used for the St. Joseph Shelter fundraising events. When asked why they continue to answer Heidi’s many emails for help they said it’s to give back to God and His people for all they have received. They also love the opportunity to meet other people and keep busy as their retirement has given them so much more time. One wouldn’t know this by all the activities they are engaged.
However, the most touching part of their story is more personal – having been married 69 years and knowing each other since grade school. Their home walls are filled with beautiful pictures of their 8 children, 25 grandchildren, 25 great grandchildren, 2 great great grandchildren and one on the way.
They love to share their volunteering experiences with their family members and receive much support from them to keep giving of their time and hearts as long as possible. We hope that will be many more years to come.
Thanks to Elaine and Leonard for all they give to CCS and so many others in our community.