Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mildred Alene Dunn Barlow, the Volunteer of Volunteers!

Have we ever told you how much we love our mother, Mildred Alene Dunn Barlow.  She has been a great example to us as she has served in so many ways and cared for so many people throughout her life.

She was the youngest child in her family and so at 89 yrs of age she is all that is left. Grandpa passed away in 2002 and since that time she has made the best of life trying to continue to serve “. . . like Lincoln would expect me to . . . got to endure to the end so I can be with Lincoln, ‘cause we all know where he is at now.”

This past year she was released from the Relief Society and asked to teach the 8-10 year olds in Primary. Now she is 89 and she has every right to expect that she might well desire to continue to read her scriptures every day, read her Relief Society lesson and her Gospel Doctrine manual during the week preparing to enjoy her Sabbath day of worship. But, no at 89 yrs she is going to teach rambunctious, a little wild, new to the church converts in primary (2 hours worth each Sunday).

Did she want to teach Primary? No . . . Will she teach primary and give it her best shot? Yes. She has had almost a year of teaching these children and this summer held a birthday party inviting her primary class to the church for a celebration with a theme of “The 13 Articles of Faith.” They played games, decorated cupcakes, made little treasures,, ate a lot of food and celebrated Mis' Barlow’s 89th birthday. She also gave them each a birthday present.

She use to drive to Atlanta each month and spend a week (a 4 hour drive) to serve in the Atlanta temple.  She finally realized that the trip was just too much for her and so she looked for other ways to be of service. She called Hospice and asked if she could be a volunteer having had service from them when her sweet Lincoln was so bad. She has joined the Bluebird volunteers at the Colquitt Regional Medical Center serving 3 days a week and volunteers at the food bank once a month.

This service has continued for the last 7 years. She is a favorite at the hospital, knows everyone and everyone knows her. She has worked in many areas (and I do mean worked some times as long as 8-10 hrs) and has been the chaplain for the volunteers for the last 2 years. This has been a great missionary tool as she gives them a rousing sermon each month at their meeting. No little thought from the Internet for her. She always focuses her message on how to improve, grow or serve better. There is always a challenge to her audience to strive for those Christ-like attributes she has tried to practice all her life.

Recently the hospital CEO, Jim Lowry told the volunteer’s president that he would like for the volunteers to be recognized by honoring the service of a volunteer every quarter and present them with a $50 check. A box was placed in the volunteers room where the volunteers could cast their votes for the honoree. Grandmother was selected for the award at their September meeting and presented with a check for $50. There are around seventy volunteers and grandmother felt honored.

Each year the volunteers make an annual donation of $10,000 to the Hospital Foundation. This donation is always given in honor of some community figure. Last year it was decided that the donation could be given in honor of one of the volunteers. . This is the second year it has been awarded to a volunteer. The award was to be announced in their October meeting and they were told that Mr Lowry would come to their meeting to make the announcement. When the time came for the announcement to be made the President said that Mildred Barlow had been chosen to receive the award. Grandmother said she could hear many of the volunteers around the table say 'she earned it'. The President noted how willing Mildred was to work where ever there has been a need and pointed out that she had worked in wound care, transport, pharmacy, front desk, gift shop, various offices and had served on second floor. She pointed out that for more than a year she had done all the filing for their former gift shop manger and that was done after she had finished her assignment for the day. Grandmother said that they made her sound real good.

Grandma said, “Mr Lowry complimented me first on my inspirational thought and prayer it was flowery...I think I am the first chaplain that has ever done anything more than read something. I felt, very loved. I will sit at the Founders table in the spring when we have the Founder’s banquet and be recognized with all the Founders. I am blessed to be honored for doing something that does even more for me. Life is good!”

That’s our grandma. We are just a bit proud of her. She is probably the only “Mormon” that most of her peers know and she is a great representative of the gospel and a great missionary ready to share the gospel with whoever shows an interest.

She is blessed. She always says she has nothing to complain about. She feels good, she feels loved, she has her volunteer work to keep her going. Well that and teaching primary for 8-10 year olds who ‘will not stay in their seats or stop talking or listen to a thing I have to say’ but every week they come back to get some more of that love that oozes from her every pore.
You are never too old for a little motherly advise.
Well, now I have told you. . . I love my mother (in-law).   I love her every bit as much as Farrell loves her, maybe more. I am sure she loves me more than she loves Farrell, at least she makes me think she does. Actually we could have a real argument over this as each of us children (and grandchildren) think we are the favorite, and . . .we probably are.

6 comments:

LBJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LBJ said...

What a wonderful tribute to your mother-in-law. Isn't it a blessing to have another MOM to love you and be a good example. It made me think of my own dear mother-in-law who has been gone from us a long time, but was the same kind of person in my life. Thanks for sharing.

Angela said...

I shared this with John and it made us talk about what a great lady she is. John says he believes she is the most selfless person he knows whose whole life has been dedicated to the service of others. I fell in love with her the moment we met- with curlers in her hair. Thanks for sharing.

Jamaica Mission said...

A great tribute to a very deserving lady! A life well lived.

stevengaisford said...

Elder and Sister Barlow,
Please excuse me for horning in on your beautiful tribute to your mother. I have periodically searched for my first companion who shared a room at 2 blvd Andre Aune in Marseille. Living with the dragon lady, and following that short fellow with the southern drawl all over Marseille was the begining of a marvelous experience that has been the well spring of my church life. I am excited to find your blog, and read about the life changing work that you are doing there. I am the ward mission leader and reading your exploits has given me new enthusiasm for the work here in Scottsdale, AZ. Lincoln, it is apparent that you married up. She must be a saint. I will never forget the first night on that bed we shared, and your putting the long pillow between us with the comment that the only feet you wanted touching yours would be your wife. Well, frere, it looks like you got your wish. Belated congratulations on your marriage. I will will share this link with Elder Stapley, who was out at the same time.
Thanks for the memories. Elder Steven Gaisford stevengaisford@hotmail.com

McChesney's said...
This comment has been removed by the author.