Giving Tree expands to the aged and sick

December 20, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

Editor's Note: In this 12-part series that runs through Christmas Eve, The Herald-Mail highlights people and organizations who make the holidays brighter for others.

Name: Marie Reeder

Age: 72

Home: Maugansville

Occupation: Retired as a supervisor in the accounting group from Travelers Insurance in Hartford, Conn.

Organization: Member of the Western Maryland Hospital Center auxiliary

What do you do to make Christmas brighter?: Reeder will be distributing Christmas gifts to Catholic patients and residents at Western Maryland Hospital Center and Avalon Manor (NMS Healthcare of Hagerstown). The gifts were donated as part of the giving tree program at St. Ann Roman Catholic Church. About 20 people at each facility will get two presents each.

"This was the first time that we were doing the giving tree for the elderly and for the sick ... They've done the giving tree for quite a few years now, but it's mostly for the youngsters and the teenagers," Reeder said.


Why do you do it?: Reeder's parents operated a nursing home in Connecticut, where about 20 older people lived.

"It's mostly because of the elderly, and as a youngster, I think that's where it comes from. My parents had a nursing home, and of course, I used to help ... My mom, I think, she just did it. She told me, 'Someday, you'll be elderly, and so you have to be nice to them,' and that's how I grew up."

How can others help?: People should spend time with the elderly and visit nursing homes.

Comment: "I always say, 'I'm going to quit, that's it, I've had it,' but then when I see the elderly, that kind of tells me, 'No, I'm going to keep doing it.'" The residents and patients ask about her if she has not recently visited the facilities where they live.

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