Photo cutline: Mary Mister makes calls to library patrons, one of a number of places Mister volunteers with the Retired Senior and Volunteer Program, a United Way Member Agency.
When Mary Mister retired from her working life, her volunteer activities kicked into high gear. She delivers Meals on Wheels, helps at the Imagine If Library, works on special events at the Conrad Mansion Museum and serves as a teacher in the 1895 Classroom at the Museum at Central School.
The Retired Senior and Volunteer Program, (RSVP) , a United Way Member Agency, provides Mister and hundreds of others with the opportunity to volunteer at one or more of 61 participating agencies throughout the Flathead Valley. During 2014, volunteers contributed 41,706 hours to the community.
Mister said she was determined to maintain an active retirement after watching too many people retire from activity after they retired from paying jobs.
“I like to volunteer because it’s nice to be retired, but it’s kind of boring,” said Mister, who returned to the Flathead Valley four years ago after being away for 20 years. She signed up for RSVP the second week she was back in the valley and now is serving her second term on the RSVP Advisory Council.
She loves volunteering, including her meal deliveries. “That is absolutely the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done,” she said. “The people are waiting for me with smiles on their faces.”
Mister feels she receives more than she gives by being a community volunteer. “I love feeling like I’m giving to the community,” she said. “I love Kalispell. I absolutely love it, and feel like I’m helping the different agencies. It’s fun.”