When Stanley Hussey was a resident at Maine Veterans’ Homes – Augusta in the late 1980s, nobody could have imagined that his time there would inspire more than 20 years of volunteerism from his daughter.
Farmingdale resident Marjorie Gallagher doesn’t remember her father’s time in the Army during World War II, but she does remember the warmth and caring her father received while a resident at MVH Augusta.
Marjorie said her father’s time at the home was an impactful experience, and the reason she knew she would volunteer once she retired from her teaching career at St. Michael School, formerly St. Mary’s and St. Augustine Catholic schools in Augusta.
She was extremely appreciative of the way the staff helped guide him through various stages of health during the five years he was a resident.
Forming Friendships at Maine Veterans’ Homes
When Marjorie reflects on 22 years of volunteer service to the home’s residents she is reminded of the friendships that have formed throughout the years - friendships with other volunteers, staff members and many residents.
Sometimes residents don’t have family who live in Maine, so Marjorie and other home volunteers often form deep friendships with these residents. For one particular resident that was the case; her family lived in Texas, so Marjorie befriended her, even accompanying her to the hospital for surgery and offering companionship during the days afterward. Even in the end, when Marjorie’s newly found friend passed away, Marjorie was there.
“When my own parents died I wasn’t there,” she said, adding that she’ll never forget when the family thanked her for being a special person in their loved one’s life.
Activities and Events at Maine Veterans’ Homes
One activity Marjorie started about 20 years ago at the request of a staffer has become one of the most popular events of the week – Thursday Pokeeno tournaments where Marjorie serves as caller and shuffler.
“It’s a major event,” Marjorie said, adding that she makes badges for the winner so he or she can display it for bragging rights.
“She is known for her quick wit and teasing banter with all the players,” said home administrator Jacob Anderson.
“Over the years Marj has recruited other like-minded individuals to join her in providing volunteer services at the home,” he added. “She is an integral part of life here at the home in Augusta.”
“One activity that was important to me when my father was here was Mass,” Marjorie said. “Even though he wasn’t Catholic, he loved the Catholic Mass.”
Eventually, because of a shortage of clergy, Mass was no longer held at the Augusta Home. Marjorie, however, through her connections to the parish, had a part in bringing back a tradition that so many hold dear. In those years when Mass wasn’t available at the home, Marjorie attended church with a resident she had become close with.
“She was so thrilled,” Marjorie said. “It’s those little things that mean so much to our residents.”
Marjorie said volunteers often underestimate what an impact they have on residents. What may seem like a small gesture, means the world to those she comes in contact with.
“It’s a wonderful experience all around,” she said.
Want to Volunteer at Maine Veterans’ Homes?
At Maine Veterans’ Homes, we are honored to care for those who served and are fortunate to have volunteers like Marj helping out.
Interested in volunteering with us? Learn more and submit an application on our volunteer page.