Volunteer Recognition Corner
Tom and Mary Jane Merritt - Our Thoughts on Volunteering
Mary Jane Merritt:
I have always volunteered since a young age - that's a long time ago because in February I will turn 78!
I have been volunteering at LRH for eleven years; first at the Front Desk on Tuesdays from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. with my fellow volunteers, Sheila Chase and Cindy Davis. We have become lifelong friends. When the LRH Medical Office Building opened, I decided to volunteer at this desk as well on Thursdays from 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. with Daphne McDonald, someone I had never met. Over the years, we have also become good friends. Daphne and I cared for the plants around the Medical Office Building water feature by watering, fertilizing and de-heading the plants. We also cared for numerous plants on the way to the Urology Department. At both stations we were always very busy taking patients to their appointments and helping with their requests. According to my Fitbit, it was not unusual to walk 3 miles during a shift. Over the years I have enjoyed so many of the patients and hopefully I helped reassure them that being nervous is normal in a medical setting. I have heard so many wonderful stories, and frankly, learned a lot about life. I no longer volunteer on Thursdays since my friend Daphne moved and Tom, my husband, and I wanted more flexibility for an earlier start for weekend travels. I continue to volunteer at the Front Desk on Tuesday's with Sheila and Cindy. Outside of LRH, I also volunteer at the Littleton Police Department in various places, including the front garden.
I was a Kindergarten teacher and worked with dyslexic children before we had our three kids, Tom, Jr., Haidee and Ted. I was a stay-at-home mom and volunteered at their schools, as well as acted as a "neighborhood mom" who helped when other kids of working moms got sick. After my children were "launched," I started a needle point company called MJ Enterprises. Basically, I hand painted 11x11 canvases with emblems of towns, states, private schools and clubs. My next endeavor, because the needle point kept me too busy, was to volunteer in Hollis, NH, where we were living at the time. I was a member of the Hollis Woman's Club (176 members and 13 clubs) for 2 years and, of course, the Hollis Garden Club, which was limited to 25 members, for 3 years. This involved many town projects and kept me physically active. I became president of both clubs over the years but at separate times.
Tom, my husband and fellow volunteer, and I have been married for 54 wonderful years. Our exciting news is that we are going to be first time "Grandparents" in late April - we can't wait!
Volunteering at LRH is stimulating, rewarding, and fun! During nearly ten years as a volunteer, I have had the privilege of working under Susan in the Finance Department, Anne in the Gale Medical Library and the Volunteer Director. Serving "behind the scenes" as I do is an education in how well we all work together to get important things done. Most recently, I have taken on the weekly winding of the LRH grandfather clock, located in the main entrance lobby. I treasure the new friendships that my wife of fifty-four years, Mary Jane, and I have made as volunteers at the hospital.
By way of introduction, we moved to Littleton in 2003 after twenty-eight years in Hollis. Our move was to be near Mary Jane's cousin who had lived with us during his high school years and at the time was head of Audiology at LRH. Mary Jane began volunteering at the front desk a few years later and I signed up the following year when I saw how much she enjoyed becoming acquainted with our new community!
Our family consists of our son, Tom, Jr., who is a colonel and judge advocate serving with the Marines on Okinawa; our daughter Haidee, a multi-media artist and Airbnb proprietor in Portsmouth; and our younger son, Ted, who owns a water well contracting business in Sarasota, Florida. Tom and his wife, Callan Anne, are expecting a baby (our first grandchild!) at the end of April. We also enjoy the company of our rescue dog, Daisy, and two rescue cats, Annie and Thaxter.
Margaret Harrigan - LRH Volunteer
I was born March 7, 1929 at the old Littleton Hospital on Cottage Street. I was raised in Bethlehem as an only child. I had a very happy childhood with my many animals. I enjoyed working outside when I was younger with my dad. I went to Bethlehem School, which at the time had grades 1-12. After I graduated, I went to Keene Teacher College. I graduated in 1951 with an elementary teaching degree.
After college I moved to Connecticut with a college friend as the pay was better in this state. I taught first grade for 43 years. For the first six years I taught in Meriden followed by 37 years of teaching in Wallingford. Wallingford was a brand new school when I first started there. After I retired in 1994 from teaching, I came back home to New Hampshire where I started.
I was gone from New Hampshire for so long that I only knew a few people that I grew up with. After I retired I did some traveling for about ten years. I spent a lot of time traveling through Europe with my dear friend, June. My first trip was to Paris with June and Father Joe. After that, I realized how much I loved to travel. From there I traveled to Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Lisbon, France and England. After traveling for 10 years, I told myself that I needed to get out into my community more so I could meet different people.
Charron Sundman, a former Director of Volunteer Services at LRH, knew my family and me. We were talking one day and Charron said, "I should look into volunteering." Charron interviewed me at the old hospital and immediately offered to find me a volunteer position. During this time, there was another volunteer changing pictures in various rooms of the hospital. Unfortunately, this volunteer suddenly passed so Charron asked if I would be interested in continuing her job. I was hesitant to say yes but ultimately did so. In the meantime, an opening became available in the Gift Shop and Charron asked if I would like to work there as an alternative volunteer position. That is how I starting volunteering at LRH so many years ago.
After I started volunteering, I still did a lot of traveling. My traveling stayed within the United States with various travel groups.
When I started volunteering, I worked one day a week. Over the years I added days and currently volunteer three days a week - one day a week in the Gift Shop and two days a week in the Lower Atrium. Throughout the years at LRH I have volunteered in different locations, including Same Day Surgery for six years. I have met many people and have become good friends with many of them.
Throughout my life I always had Siamese cats. Ten years ago, my dog Phoebe came into my life. She is a Chocolate Lab. I cried tears of joy when she was given to me. Animals have always been my children. I currently have Phoebe and my Siamese cat, Annie, who is fourteen. Believe it or not, I am in the process of adopting two more Siamese cats.
I am very content and I never get bored. Between my "children" and my volunteer work, I live a happy and fulfilled life.