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For senior volunteer, "Service is my thing"

January 11, 2004|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

bonnieb@herald-mail.com

QUINCY, Pa. - The phrase "love, justice and service" comes up frequently in Jean Pletcher's conversation.

As a permanent deacon in the United Methodist Church, Pletcher's ministry focuses on those three virtues.

"Service is my thing," she said. At 73, she continues serving through volunteerism.

The daughter of a Methodist minister, Pletcher said service was important to her family, and that is her motivation for continuing to serve others.

On a recent Friday morning, Pletcher played a card game with residents of Bosler Hall in Quincy United Methodist Home. She has an obvious rapport with Edna Eby Heller, 89; Grace P. Mose, 85; and Winifred Beyer, 89; as they sat around a table in the sunny dining room.

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"She's the busiest lady around here," Heller said.

A resident of Quincy Village Retirement Community since moving from Erie, Pa., in July 2000, Pletcher said she got involved right away with the residents.

"I'm over here in Bosler Hall an hour and a half a day," she said, where she plays cards or Parcheesi with the residents, or just talks with them.

Pletcher teaches a Bible study every other week in the nursing home across the road. "We're studying People of the Bible now. The residents have read and know the Bible," she said.

On Tuesdays, Pletcher delivers ice water to residents in Colestock Hall, and works in the complex's Country Store once a month.

Cherle Carl, director of volunteers at Quincy United Methodist Home and Retirement Community, said she wishes she had a lot more volunteers like Pletcher.

"She's good to everyone. If you need something done, she's the one to call, even though she's so busy."

Pletcher's ministry of service extends beyond Quincy. A retired kindergarten through second grade teacher, she now uses her teaching skills for the Franklin County Literacy Council. Her student is a 48-year-old man with special needs who wants to learn how to read. Pletcher said she has been working with him for about two years, and he can sound out words.

She also helps with a weekly dinner for low-income people at First United Methodist Church in Chambersburg, and makes pastoral visits to Waynesboro Hospital.

Pletcher is a member of Christ United Methodist Church in Waynesboro, where she teaches Sunday school and works in the Stephen Ministry, visiting several people who "need someone to come in and talk with them," she said.

The fit, young-looking mother of five and grandmother of 11 admits that she doesn't have "much time off." Her family is scattered around the country. "I call them every week," she said. "It's so wonderful to hear their voices."

"Love, justice and service" is not simply a phrase to Pletcher, but a way of life.

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