The sweet sound of serving others

Left to right: Board members Wayne Mason, Lyle Lomas, Charlotte Ecoff and Dr. Stephen Miller are just a few of volunteers we celebrate during National Volunteer Month.

Left to right: Board members Wayne Mason, Lyle Lomas, Charlotte Ecoff and Dr. Stephen Miller are just a few of volunteers we celebrate during National Volunteer Month.

April is National Volunteer Month, so what better time to honor one of our board members who’s brought her time, treasure and talents to the table?

“This is my fourth year involved as a board member at Parsons Presbyterian Manor,” said Charlotte Ecoff. “My mother, Helen Carter, has lived here for quite some time, so we are very familiar with the community and their needs. My mother made a donation for the new van, and so my husband and I did, too, but we realized the needs extended beyond financial.”

Senior living centers are unique in that they truly are their own little community. Various personalities, needs and cultures come together under one roof, and it’s up to the staff, residents and volunteers like Charlotte to make it feel like home.

“I taught music to grades kindergarten through eighth, and now I teach classes at Labette Community College. After I became a board member, I used my influence and connections to increase music here. I have the students I teach do yearly concerts here, and various groups perform throughout the year. The residents really look forward to it,” said Charlotte. “I play the piano, too, and the residents seem to really enjoy it. The songs bring back memories for them.”

Charlotte comes from a musical family, and her brother and daughter have been known to accompany her.

“My brother comes and performs some. I play the flute, and he does the piano. My daughter has performed here often as well, and with her 4-H group. The residents are an encouraging group of people to perform for. It’s good for the kids, and I know my mother certainly enjoys it. I am always looking for new performers, and sometimes, those musicians live right here! We even had a doctor who was convalescing here who was quite talented,” said Charlotte.

Of all the smiles and laughter Charlotte has helped bring over the years, though, there’s one that stands out as the funniest.

“Even my little dog performs with us! I remember one time my daughter singing “How Much is That Doggy in the Window?” with her 4-H group, and she got him to bark on time with the song. The residents started barking along, too. It was hysterical!”

We know that for all the blessings Charlotte has brought Parsons Presbyterian Manor, she’s received them back, and that’s the beauty of volunteering.

“I always want to bring joy here. Our attitude to our life and aging is very important. It helps our physical and mental health. I stop to kneel down and connect with people, and pray with them. It makes me feel good doing something to help others. And I know this type of environment has helped my mother. The manor has been very good for her. She reached 100 on Oct. 24, 2016, and I really didn’t know if she would make it there. She’s had some illnesses along the way, but she’s doing well now.”

We thank Charlotte, and all of our volunteers, especially our board members, who give so much of themselves to make Parsons Presbyterian Manor a wonderful place to call home. If you or anyone you know is interested in volunteering, contact Sharla Hopper at 620-421-1450 or [email protected]

“I want to encourage the younger generation to get to know these interesting people. They’ve lived long, full lives and have so much to give,” said Charlotte.