Claire Robinson: 'It's about making their life a little better'

Posted: Dec. 5, 2012 6:13 pm Updated: Dec. 20, 2012 2:23 pm

Claire Robinson said the best thing about her 21 1/2 years of work at the United Way of Adams County, was working with people and helping fill local needs.

So it was no surprise when Robinson got involved in volunteer efforts after she retired as the United Way's community resources associate about a year ago.

A Hannibal, Mo., resident, Robinson has gotten more involved in outreach programs for Holy Family Church and is working with the Salvation Army on the volunteer advisory council.

"The blessing of my life has been being able to meet so many different people and know that maybe in some small way I have helped them. I don't want to make this about me. It's about them. It's about making their life a little better," Robinson said.

"I felt like sometimes I got more out of it than the people we were helping."

Robinson helped as cochairman of the Unmet Needs Committee since 1993, was organizer of the Quincy Herald-Whig's Good News of Christmas campaigns for eight years, and represented human services agencies on the Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster -- VOAD group.

Why Claire volunteers, in her own words:

"During the flood or whatever disaster, I sat at the emergency operations table representing all those human service agencies. And I really, really once again think that Adams County stands head and shoulders above the rest as far as organization and what we've accomplished since 1993. We are really looked at in the state of Illinois as an example of how to do it and I was very proud of all the work that we did."

"After retiring ... I have started working with the Salvation Army. I'm on their volunteer advisory council. So last week I was helping with Hannibal registration for Toy Town. I worked four days kind of half days doing that which was really fun and it just got me back being able to meet people and meet the clients who had come in and need assistance. So that was great and then we went to two nursing homes and passed out some things. So I'm really able to get back into that. I'm loving that."

"I'm going to be a hospice volunteer that will go and visit with the hospice family and the patient and listen and help out where I can. I haven't started it yet. There's a long process to getting into it and orientation. I look forward to it."

"One thing I can say about retirement is that I've lived in Hannibal since 1995, but because I worked in Quincy all those years I really didn't get involved in the Hannibal community. And I feel like over maybe the last six or eight months I've gotten more involved in my church -- Holy Family Church -- and now with the Salvation Army and now I'm feeling like for the first time I'm part of this community here in Hannibal too. I do miss Quincy and still want to be part of some of the volunteering there, but I also feel like if I'm living here, I should be rolling up my sleeves here."

"If you can really demonstrate there is a need in whatever area it might be, Quincy - the people there - step up. They are always there to help. All those years that I worked there, I was in awe of that. The citizens of Adams County, not just Quincy but Adams County, were always there to help when the need was great. Through my church and the Salvation Army, I'm seeing the same dedication in Hannibal."

Claire Robinson was interviewed by Senior Writer Doug Wilson and photographed by Photo Editor Phil Carlson.