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Wetzel takes senior center greeting responsibility joyfully

December 07, 2009|By JANET HEIM

HAGERSTOWN -- Pauline "Polly" Wetzel comes to "work" well prepared -- ready with a quick smile and a joke. She puts her people skills to good use as one of the front desk greeters at the Washington County Senior Center's temporary location at Girls Inc.

"She is our joy," said Kathy Fisher, manager at the senior center.

Wetzel is one of five front desk greeters at the center, a job she's held since the center opened in September 2008. She works Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

Fisher said she is grateful for the other volunteer greeters, as well. They are Blanton Croft, Fran Hoagland, Lorna Christian and Dee Reichmeiter.

Fisher said she is looking for more people to volunteer as greeters. Responsibilities include having seniors sign in when they arrive at the center, as well as tracking their likes/dislikes and what they're looking for in programs. They also take new people or visitors on tours of the facility.

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Wetzel said staff members at the senior center are a joy to work with, as are the people who use the center.

"Everyone I've met here have become friends. They're wonderful people. It's a nice way to meet people, to share with them," Wetzel said.

Wetzel, 81, was born and raised in Cumberland, Md., graduating from Fort Hill High School in 1946. An only child, she remembers helping her father count the change he collected as a milk man, which is where she developed an aptitude for working with money.

"I love to work with money. I should have been a bank teller," Wetzel said.

She moved to Washington County in 1951 and lived in the Boonsboro area. Now single, she has lived in Oak Ridge for 24 years and is an active member at Mt. Nebo United Methodist Church in Boonsboro.

She had a 23-year-career with the Washington County Department of Social Services, working with county medical cards. Wetzel also worked at Fountain Head Country Club as a part-time hostess for 14 years and still works one day a month helping with the raw bar or working the coatroom for parties.

She has volunteered at Hagerstown Community College since 1990, although she isn't currently volunteering there since there are students to do the job she did.

Wetzel has three children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

She stays active with a strength training class at the senior center, and also does water and floor aerobics.

"I feel better since I started taking" the strength training class, Wetzel said.

Wetzel said she looks forward to volunteering.

"We're like a close-knit family when we're working," she said.

Wetzel encourages seniors to try the wide range of free offerings at the senior center at 626 W. Washington St. A small fee is charged for piano lessons, and art and bead classes.

Those wanting to volunteer at the Washington County Senior Center or seeking more information about the center may call Fisher at 301-671-2368 or go to www.wccoaging.org.

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