Lorna Hamilton believes folks need a reason to get up in the morning. For her, that reason is volunteering.
The 87 year-old Menasha woman has been registering blood donors at The Community Blood Center for more than a decade.
Laurie Kiffel, account manager in donor recruitment at The Community Blood Center, praises Hamilton.
“For some people, volunteering is about giving,” she said. “For Lorna, it goes beyond that — it’s a way of living. She has generously volunteered her time and talents for more than 15 years. Her dedication to The Community Blood Center’s mission and commitment to community is commendable.”
Hamilton also assembles materials at the ThedaCare print center in Menasha and is a member of the RSVP special projects team and a quilting group at Faith Lutheran Church.
Her volunteer experiences have been eye-opening.
“At the hospital, I see people come in with various wheelchairs and all I can think of is, ‘Thank Goodness I still have my two feet to walk with.’ It has given me a different outlook on life, really, to appreciate my health and what I’ve got. It’s just a wonderful thing to do. I don’t know what I’d fill my time with, otherwise.”
Hamilton is among 19 members of the Retired & Senior Volunteer 55+ Program who have helped The Community Blood Center, serving more than 4,500 hours since 2000.
Hamilton has been a member of RSVP for 17 years and says volunteering helps her feel useful.
“There is a sense or feeling that you have done something productive,” she said. “I’m not just fiddling away my time. I’m not a knitter or crocheter, so you’ve got to have a reason to get up in the morning.”
During her career, Hamilton was an employee in the purchasing department of a manufacturing company in Neenah. After she retired in the 70s, she worked for temporary employment agencies, where she enjoyed the flexibility of choosing her work days and jobs.
That flexibility continues today for her volunteer roles. The Community Blood Center gives her the monthly schedule for blood donations. She chooses the days she wants to volunteer, then calls the center and gets on the schedule.
The same holds true for the ThedaCare print center and RSVP special project team. She receives a call and can decide whether or not she wants to volunteer.
She also was very active with the Hearing Loss Association, where she was a board member. Hamilton also sorted donations at the Community Clothes Closet, helped with the American Cancer Society Sole Burner and assembled materials for special events at Juvenile Diabetes.
“I like being around people and meeting new people,” she said. “You learn a lot from other volunteers. If we’re not together for a while, we will call each other to see how they are doing. Get involved, whether it’s in church or helping out at school. Every little bit helps.”