Staying Active and Alive
For 50 years, Senior Resources has been serving the Midlands’ senior population and helping them to remain healthy and independent. This non-profit organization helps area seniors through its Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), Meals on Wheels, Foster Grandparents, Wellness Centers, Home Care, and Senior Companions programs. We recently spoke with one of Senior Resources’ most dedicated volunteers, Mrs. Nina Shirer, about her work with the agency. Nina is a very versatile woman. Retired from Allied Chemical in Irmo as a forklift operator, it wasn’t long before she knew she had to find something else to fill her time with. “I’m not sitting around the house”, she told herself soon after leaving the workforce. She wanted to do something with purpose, something “to make a difference in someone’s life”. She found her calling at Senior Resources, where she’s been for almost 20 years. She says the benefits are many; not only are you helping those in need, but you are “meeting different people, becoming part of a community, getting out of your comfort zone, and having fun”.
The fun part comes not only from the people she’s helping, but from working alongside her husband of 56 years, Tommy. She says her husband is so helpful and handy, he’s “kind of like the Martha Stewart of the neighborhood” – acting as treasurer for the church, fixing what’s broke, doing the books and taxes. Mrs. Shirer is also like this, and calls herself a “Relief Operator”, someone who “knows a little bit about everything”. She is always active, participating in RSVP, packing bags of fresh fruits and vegetables from the S.C. State Farmers Market for seniors to enjoy (she had packed 190 bags the morning of our phone interview), teaching reading to students at Pine Grove Elementary, playing piano for a group at the nursing home or at church, or earning medals in the Senior Games (this year she may go to the National Senior Games in Alabama). She has been an instructor before, and is used to telling people what to do, and Tommy was in the National Guard, used to telling people what to do, so, “the two of us are married, trying to tell each other what to do!” She has passed her giving nature down to her children, and talks about how much her daughter, a teacher, loves her students and cites several examples of her reaching out and connecting with the kids in her classes.
Nina shares her time with others for many reasons, and says it’s rewarding on many levels. When reading to schoolchildren she knows that for them, it’s about being able to count on her, saying, “Those kids know they can depend on you…they know Ms. Shirer is going to be here next week with me”. With the seniors she assists, what she loves most is the fact that, “we just get to be good friends.”
Senior Resources, Inc.
2817 Millwood Avenue
Columbia, SC 29205