During National Volunteers Week, a Special Luncheon and Words of Wisdom at Nathaniel Witherell

Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Nathaniel Witherell, connecting and building community and helping to enrich the lives of our residents.

“Volunteers play an incredibly important role here,” said Mary Tate, who coordinates all volunteer activity for the Town’s revered short-term rehab and long-term skilled nursing center of care. “They do so much for our residents, every day of the week, all year round,” she added, pointing to recreational activities, plant care, pet therapy, card and board games, and assisting at the hair salon and with transportation.

Last week, during National Volunteers Week (this year, April 16-22), the Witherell honored their volunteers at a special luncheon. While Witherell resident Michael Thorn performed contemporary piano selections, volunteers feasted on the sole stuffed with crab meat, chicken piccata, fondant potatoes, asparagus, and chocolate fudge bundt cake prepared under the direction of Thomas Russell, the Witherell’s new executive chef.

Carol and Jim Santora

One of the other highlights of this annual event was a moving talk, given by Witherell resident Anne Firmender, who at one time was a volunteer at the Stamford Homeless Shelter.

She shared that experience with us: “At another time in my life, I, too, was a volunteer. I cooked and served meals at a Stamford homeless shelter, then at a homeless shelter for men. I did this because I was once homeless and lived at a homeless shelter for women. It is where I learned how to write poetry. What a gift! Then I became a volunteer at the men’s shelter in Stamford, where I started a book club for them. We all read the same book and met to discuss it. One day, two of the men told me privately that they couldn’t read, so I taught them how. I taught all the men how to write poetry.”

Fast forward to life at the Witherell, where Anne again became a volunteer. “I started a Ladies Circle Group where other residents can meet, and talk, and share their experiences. It’s wonderful” she explains. “I refer to us as The Golden Girls! You know, there are so many gifts in life we ignore or don’t see. When I see Witherell volunteers working so hard here, I want to thank them so much, as I too know the joys of volunteering. We get back more than we give.”

Jean Connaughton, Mary Fox, Toni Christiano, Rita Kerrigan, and Marguerita Salerno (Witherell volunteers)

Nathaniel Witherell is a short-term rehabilitation and skilled nursing center of care, located on 24 acres just two miles from downtown Greenwich, Connecticut. The Witherell is committed to person-centered care provided by a compassionate and experienced staff. Short-term rehabilitation and sub-acute post-hospitalization are offered daily.

The nonprofit is owned and operated by the Town of Greenwich and has been serving the community for over 118 years, reflecting the community’s collective commitment to provide for the Town’s elderly when home care is no longer an option. To learn more about the Witherell, visit them online at www.nathanielwitherell.org or call 203-618-4200.

Sharon and Andrew Graham (Witherell volunteers from Norwalk)
Holly Nalewajek and Laura Esposito (Nathaniel Witherell volunteers)
Colleen Hains and Anne Firmender (Colleen is a volunteer; Anne is a resident of the Witherell who shared her experiences as a volunteer for homeless shelters, and her “volunteer” activity at the Witherell.