December 16, 2016
On Wednesday, December 14, Ann Jeter and Pat Pospahala arrived at The Hermitage in Richmond for their last volunteer shift. For Ann, she had spent the last 38 years of Wednesdays at the Hermitage and for Pat, the last 15 years.
Ann was a stay at home mom and Pat worked in the superintendent’s office for Chesterfield County Public Schools. Their connection to The Hermitage was established through their faith. They are both members of Chester United Methodist Church and became friends while attending a small circle group. In 1978, a former volunteer suggested to Ann that she join the sewing volunteer group. Ann then recruited Pat, whom had recently retired, for the same group 23 years later in 2001.
Over the years, Ann and Pat have seen significant changes to The Hermitage in Richmond. They stated that the community has evolved with the changing times, but has been able to maintain its homey atmosphere. The addition of the 4th floor apartments was the most substantial change they observed. They have enjoyed witnessing the growth of The Hermitage and commented on how much the residents rave about living there. They have even been known to recruit friends to move to The Hermitage.
The sewing volunteers do everything from replacing buttons to extensive alterations. On slow days, they dedicated the morning to sewing and the afternoon to visiting with residents. In addition to sewing, they also made stylish walker bags for residents to carry their belongings.
Ann and Pat shared stories of residents and fellow volunteers, and even volunteers that became residents. Many residents would take a weekly trip to their workshop to catch up as they worked. Others waited for them to come by with their clothes. On more than one occasion, conversations led to revealing connections between friends, neighbors or churches! This will be what Ann and Pat miss the most; the interaction with the residents.
“If everyone gave back in their own way, we would be so much better off,” Pat expressed as she reflected on the impact of her volunteerism. The residents were always incredibly thankful and appreciative of the sewing service. This part of Ann and Pat’s lives has given them a fulfilling and gratifying opportunity to make a difference in their community. They will be greatly missed by the team members and residents at The Hermitage in Richmond.