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Rice a devoted volunteer

April 17, 2006

Editor's note: There are a lot of people you see around town that you recognize, but don't know anything about. People like...

Name: Delores Rice

Age: 66

Occupation: Retired from F & M Bank (now Susquehanna Bank)

Hometown: Born in Everett, Pa.; has lived in Washington County 62 years

Where would you see Rice? April is Volunteer Appreciation Month and you don't find volunteers more devoted than Rice. Her two-year term as president of the Washington County Hospital Auxiliary comes to an end in June and with it, a long list of accomplishments.

Under her leadership, the auxiliary's Repeat Performance Thrift Shop at 747 Northern Ave. was started. She got the idea while attending a Maryland Association of Hospital Auxiliaries convention in 2003.

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Rice is grateful for the support of her husband, Lynn, who also is an auxiliary member and helped build the interior of the thrift shop. The couple has two sons and four grandchildren.

The all-volunteer effort has raised about $34,000 since it opened in October 2004, money that will help the auxiliary meet its financial commitment to the new hospital of $1 million over five years.

Rice said the primary function of the auxiliary president is fundraising. Bath and beauty sales, book sales, handbag sales, uniform sales, a bazaar, the Tree of Lights fundraiser, and proceeds from the coffee shop and gift shop are other ways the auxiliary raises money.

"Before the thrift shop, it was mostly hospital employees supporting fundraising," Rice said.

The auxiliary, with its more than 350 active volunteers is now part of RSVP - Retired Senior Volunteer Program - a program through the Commission on Aging that tracks the number of hours members volunteer and offers perks.

Rice said the auxiliary serves 96 areas of care in 45 departments of the hospital and Robinwood Medical Center. She began volunteering in October 2002 after retiring from her 30-year banking career - in which Rice worked her way up the ranks from bookkeeper to vice president of regional branch administration.

"It was something I always wanted to do. It's like payback to the community," said Rice, who raised her children in Smithsburg, and now lives in the North End.

A 1957 graduate of North Hagerstown High School, Rice earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland School of Banking. Little did she realize how helpful that background would be in her retirement.

"The banking experience was the perfect background to start the thrift shop," said Rice, whose responsibilities with the bank included opening new branches and closing old ones.

Rice estimates that she gives 20 hours a week volunteering at the hospital and thrift shop. She plans to remain involved with the auxiliary after her term as president is over.

In addition, she is a board member with the Washington County Commission on Aging, is treasurer for Assistive Technology Corp., a nonprofit organization that builds wheelchair ramps, and is financial secretary for her church, Bethel United Methodist Church in Chewsville.

Hobbies: Rice said she likes to read, spend time with her family and friends, and shop. She admits she has made a few purchases at the thrift shop.

What does Rice like best about Washington County? "I like the people. It's a nice rural area and I think the area has a lot to offer - plenty of shopping and good restaurants," Rice said.

She said she loves the mountains and lakes in the area and being so close to Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

If you know anyone in the community who might make an interesting Our Town feature, contact Janet Heim at 301-733-5131, ext. 2024 or send e-mail to janeth@herald-mail.com.

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