Nancy Fisher | 24th Street
|Mary King with DMCC Board President Nate McCay.
Photo Heather Glenn
Click on image to enlarge.
Behind the scenes at Del Mar Community Connections a small army of volunteers is in constant motion. Committees plan social events. “Ride Buddies” drive local seniors to doctor appointments, exercise classes, and hair salons. The DMCC van picks up a small group of seniors from their doorsteps and takes them on half-day shopping excursions to Encinitas, Fashion Valley, or University Town Center. And others lead classes ranging from Brain Fitness to T’ai Chi by the Sea at the Community Building and the Powerhouse.
From this pool of volunteers it must be challenging to single out a DMCC “Volunteer of the Year,” but this year’s choice, according to DMCC Board President Nate McCay, was easy. “Mary King was very helpful to us all year,” says Nate. “She hosted shopping trips, hosted our monthly TLC-Too luncheons, and also volunteered for the little things that make a big difference – like stuffing envelopes. “And,” he adds, “she’s the kind of person you just love to have around.”
Heather Glenn, DMCC’s Program Director, agrees. “I know that whatever instructions Mary is given will be carried out to the letter. As proof, just ask any of the ladies who attend our monthly luncheon who may try to sneak past her without getting their name tag!”
After her husband passed away 20 years ago Mary raised her two sons, now 35 and 36 years old, in Carmel Valley and then moved to Del Mar 6 years ago with her husband of 12 years, Darrel. Around this time, after retiring from her career as a Psychiatric Nurse Clinician, she began volunteering in earnest. While already helping at St. Peter’s Thrift Shop, she responded to an article seeking DMCC volunteers and has been an enormous resource ever since.
When asked about her motivation to give so much to the community, Mary points to an experience she had long ago. “When I moved from Hong Kong in 1968 to attend school in New York City on a scholarship, many people reached out to me. I know I can’t give back to those exact people, so I try to pass on the good deeds to someone else.” “It feels good and keeps me busy,” she adds, “and I know that one day I could be on the receiving end of DMCC’s services.”
Was she surprised to receive the Jerry Finnell DMCC Volunteer of the Year award? “Oh, yes! I didn’t even know there was a recognition program.” “If I had,” she adds, laughing, “I would have worked even harder!”