Gamache Is a "Doer" and a "Worker," not a "Sitter" and a "Player"
Apr 27, 2018 06:00AM ● Published by Pamela Johnson
Volunteer Eva Gamache
“I’m a doer, not a sitter,” observes Eva. Her husband of 46 years, Ron, calls her a “professional volunteer.” They live happily together in Bellingham.
She gives 10 to 15 hours every week to the Senior Center. Among many other things, she’s in charge of three outside sheds and their contents and also one temporary pod. Inside them, you’ll find Christmas decorations, material for the annual Craft Fair and the Yard Sale, plus medical equipment including walkers and wheelchairs to loan to those in need.
Eva is the go-to person for the Bellingham Elder Services Group (BESG) monthly birthday luncheon. “We shop for presents for the men and women who are celebrating their birthdays, and then they get to pick one,” explains Eva. This past month, more than 60 people attended.
“If they turn 90 or older they get lunch for free during their birthday month. I think our oldest celebrant so far was 105,” says Eva who is into her sixth year as a volunteer at the Senior Center.
She is also at St. Blaise Catholic Church and St. Joseph in Woonsocket at least once a week for Bingo. “I’m a worker, not a player,” she adds with a smile. Eva grew up in Woonsocket; she is a practicing catholic and a Eucharistic Minister. Every Sunday, she brings communion to four elderly ladies who can’t make it to Mass. “It makes them happy.”
“You really need to learn to appreciate what you have,” says Eva when asked about life lessons. “Take one day at a time. Develop a healthy attitude.”
“I don’t like negativity,” she continues, “it gets you nowhere. Sometimes things need to be said, but it’s how you say it. You have to learn how to talk to people. Show respect.”
She continues, “We’re not rich people. We are happy with what we have.”
She has two grown children… four grand children… and a new puppy named Belle (a smooth fox terrier). She also has many, many folks at the Senior Center who say the place wouldn’t be the same without her.
“She is very valuable,” noted Bill Eltzroth, president of the BESG. Her great work ethic, cheerful attitude, extreme helpfulness? “Yes, all that!” says Eltzroth.
Eva also volunteers her time serving as a board member for BESG -- the senior center’s non-profit friends’ group (the fundraising organization working to provide the services and things needed over and above the Town’s municipal budget.)
According to a recent Road Scholar report, volunteering is one of the ten favorite retirement activities in the US. Bellingham has a long, proud tradition of volunteerism and the Senior Center wouldn’t be the great place it is without Eva and all of its volunteers.