This week’s column

Pub­li­ca­tion: Free­dom — OCR - Pla­cen­tia News-Times; Date:May 12, 2017; Sec­tion: News; Page Num­ber: 3

Hon­or­ing a life of giving

Remem­ber how I men­tioned that I get to do a lot of fun things as a library trustee? Last Wednes­day was one of them. I got to give some­one a gift, and tell her how much we trea­sure her.

Specif­i­cally, the “some­one” was a lovely lady named Pat Irot, and the gift was a glass plate from Tiffany’s, dec­o­rated with stars, to sym­bol­ize what a “star” the Pla­cen­tia Library thinks Pat is. It was all part of a larger award, rec­og­niz­ing Pat’s tire­less vol­un­teerism at the Pla­cen­tia Round Table Women’s Club, and elsewhere.

The Pla­cen­tia Round Table is part of the Gen­eral Fed­er­a­tion of Women’s Clubs, an orga­ni­za­tion founded in 1890 to make the world a bet­ter place. From pro­mot­ing edu­ca­tion, to pre­vent­ing crime, to sup­port­ing the arts, this orga­ni­za­tion pro­vides the vol­un­teers and the funds to help oth­ers, all over the world.

They really should all have super­hero capes.

Pat won the Pla­cen­tia chapter’s nom­i­na­tion for the Jenny Award, the high­est honor bestowed by GFWC. Pat will rep­re­sent Pla­cen­tia among the other chap­ter nom­i­nees in Cal­i­for­nia. If she is selected, she will rep­re­sent Cal­i­for­nia at the national level.

We are, of course, root­ing for her to go all the way. This is more excit­ing than the Triple Crown.

I was thrilled to be able to give her some­thing from Tiffany’s. She deserves it. In addi­tion to her work with the Women’s Club, she has given many hours to help­ing the library, even spend­ing sev­eral years as pres­i­dent of the Friends’ fundrais­ing group.

The morn­ing was lovely at the Pla­cen­tia Round Table Club­house. Even though I’m not a mem­ber, I know many of the women who are, and was able to spend some time talk­ing to them. In addi­tion to most of the library trustees, our mayor Craig Green attended, as did GFWC Pres­i­dent Toby Kahan.

I was espe­cially excited to see Venessa Faber, who used to work at the library. She had to quit when her child­care plans fell through, and we all miss her. We sat together at lunch and talked about volunteering.

I have a hard time say­ing no,” she said. “If I see some­thing that needs to be done and I know I can do it, I jump in.”

I know the feel­ing,” I told her. “I wanted to raise my hands a dozen times at this meet­ing, and I’m not even a member!”

I told my mom it’s her fault. She was a teacher, and raised me to want to help peo­ple the way she did.”

Venessa’s words echoed what Pat had said ear­lier, when she accepted her award. Accord­ing to Pat, she had been raised in a fam­ily of love and sup­port, who nat­u­rally shared their good for­tune with oth­ers. I wished I could have learned this as a child. My vol­un­teerism didn’t begin until I was an adult, but I’m try­ing to make up for lost time.

It struck me that Pat and Venessa are on oppo­site ends of the age graph, and yet are prac­ti­cally twins in their atti­tude of giv­ing. They were joined by an entire room filled with women who want to help others.

I’m sure they all look to Pat Irot as inspi­ra­tion. I know I do.

Long­time Pla­cen­tia res­i­dent Gayle Car­line tracks those moments that shape her days as a wife, mom, com­puter whiz and horse­woman. E-mail her at [email protected].

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