RSVP volunteer, Mary Jo Mohr, serves the community because it brings meaning and joy to her life.
Among the agencies she volunteers at is Harbor House Domestic Abuse Program, where she helps with its largest fundraiser, the Warrior Princess Mud Run.
“Now I want to help in some small way to erase the stigma, and help the victims to experience that there is another way of living,” she said. “I can contribute to a greater effort of fundraising by my small part in the Warrior Princess Mud Run, that of assisting with registration of participants.”
Jenny Krikava, the development and marketing manager at Harbor House, said Mohr responds to participant questions leading up to the event and organizes all of the registration information for the big day.
“Thanks to her attention to detail and great organizing skills, we’re able to provide a smooth and welcoming check-in experience that our participants really appreciate,” she said. “Above and beyond all of her work for the Warrior Princess Mud Run, she is a great advocate of Harbor House and helps to raise awareness about our agency out in the community. We’re so grateful for Mary Jo!”
Mohr says domestic abuse is rampant in our community and impacts all levels of society.
“I don’t feel that what I do will end domestic abuse,” she said, “but by contributing to the Warrior Princess Mud Run, it can impact it in a little way by the fundraising it does.”
Her other volunteer roles in the community include providing office support to the Appleton Police Department and indexing obituaries at the Appleton Public Library. She also is a member of the RSVP Special Projects Team and the Appleton Noon Lions Club, where she registers participants at the Senior Living Expo that will be held Sept. 20 at Players Choice of the Fox Cities.
Beth Jasiak, the assistant to the chief and volunteer program coordinator at the Appleton Police Department, said Mary Jo is a “ray of sunshine.”
“Mary Jo’s presence is a blessing to us at the APD,” she said. “She not only encourages us with her incredibly uplifting spirit, but she also undertakes volumes of meaningful work with amazing attention to detail. We are most grateful to have her as part of the APD team.”
Mohr, who is a registered nurse and former nursing home administrator, retired in 2003 from Affinity where she was the director of Sub-Acute Services. She says her husband, Ron, is her biggest supporter.
“He holds down the fort while I spend hours volunteering,” she said.
She and Ron enjoy ballroom dancing and bicycling. They spend the winter in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
“My husband Ron and I have a blended family that includes 5 children, 12 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren,” she said. “Our lives are full, but so are theirs. That leaves lots of time to meditate and to volunteer. As Deepak Chopra says, ‘We can share a piece of our life to lift up the world around us … to make the world a little better.’”
Mohr says retirement is a luxury as well as a nemesis for many folks.
“They may have endless hours to sit alone and ponder,” she said. “I know that meaningful activities give my life meaning and joy.”
She points out that Bill Thomas, who founded the Green House Project that transformed nursing homes from the hospital-institutionalized model to one in small, home-like settings, said that the aging population was dying – not from disease or aging, but from a broken heart – helplessness, hopelessness and an absence of feeling needed.
As for the Warrior Princess Mud Run, there is a great need for volunteers (called muddy buddies). They can help with a variety of activities, including setup of obstacles before the race, clean up after the event, assisting at water stations, and helping with gear check-in and parking before the event. If you would like to volunteer, contact Harbor House at 920-832-1667.
What: Warrior Princess Mud Run, a non-competitive 5K adventure run/walk and obstacle course designed for women and men of all fitness levels
When: 8 to noon on Saturday, Aug. 19
Where: Mosquito Hill Nature Center
N3880 Rogers Rd., New London, WI 54961
Cost: $85. All proceeds directly support Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs and our agency’s work to end domestic violence in our community
Info: 920-832-1667 www.harborhouseonline.org