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Professional volunteer

Resident steps up her volunteerism after moving to Maris Grove

Created date

September 28th, 2015
Maris Grove resident
Maris Grove resident

Peg Showalter, who lives at , Erickson Living’s retirement community in Delaware County, Pa., is a poster girl for volunteerism. In fact, she calls herself a professional volunteer.

Peg hasn’t held a paying job since age 25. Instead, she’s channeled her energies nonstop into a lifetime of doing for others. 

Earlier this year, Christiana Care Health System in Wilmington honored her volunteer efforts by presenting her with the 2015 Spirit of Women Community Hero award. 

Until she moved to Maris Grove from Wilmington in 2007, Peg had carried out much of her volunteerism through two channels, her church and a local nonprofit organization.

Her most sustained commitment, 56 years and counting, has been at Wilmington’s Hanover Street Presbyterian Church: Peg has held nearly every lay leadership position, participated in nearly every ministry, and extended her service far beyond the Wilmington community.

With a Presbyterian church-affiliated group, she helped rebuild a tornado-damaged home in Birmingham, Ala., and did similar work in New Orleans on homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina. 

No slacker in terms of lending a hand, “In New Orleans, I was climbing 12-foot ladders, and I learned to use a table saw and tin shears to cut siding,” Peg relates.

Her other long-time affiliation has been with FISH of Northern Delaware. The grass-roots organization receives no funding and runs totally on volunteer power. 

FISH provides rides to doctor and hospital appointments for people who have no other means of transportation.

Drivers volunteer their time, cars, and gas. After 43 years as a full-time driver, Peg retired this year. But she remains on the FISH board of directors, does phone work, and pinch-hits when needed. 

The beat goes on at Maris Grove

 Maris Grove’s on-site amenities and its maintenance-free lifestyle have made it easy for Peg to continue her life of service. Not surprisingly, she’s added campus commitments to her mix of volunteer pursuits.

In her third term on Maris Grove’s Resident Advisory Council, she serves as secretary. 

She’s also a salon escort at Rose Court, Maris Grove’s on-site rehabilitation and continuing care neighborhood.

Some of her volunteer efforts take place in her eat-in kitchen; Peg makes flavorful sweet pepper relish and old-fashioned pickled watermelon rind to sell to her neighbors and to members of her church. 

All of her pickle proceeds benefit her church’s food pantry, Maris Grove’s Benevolent Care Fund, or its Scholars’ Fund.

When Peg first visited Maris Grove, she came away impressed by everything, especially by its all-season swimming pool. How often does she use it? “I haven’t been in it once,” she says.

She does attend fitness classes, plays board games in the evenings, and never misses a campus movie night. 

Her doctor is a Maris Grove staff physician, so her appointments take place at the full-service campus medical center.

For a person who’s rarely at home, Peg’s one-bedroom apartment style suits her just fine. 

After living in her house alone for 14 years, she’s ecstatic to no longer juggle homeowner headaches like a non-working dishwasher or leaking pipes. 

Should she need repairs, Maris Grove’s maintenance team, always on call, is as near as her phone. 

On the move

Peg spent part of August in the Poconos and will fly to Hawaii with Maris Grove’s travel group this December.    Thanks to Maris Grove’s 24/7 security team, she never worries about her home when she’s away. 

“I can’t believe I live here,” she says of her good fortune. “But as wonderful as the amenities are, it’s the people that make Maris Grove so special. The people you meet and the relationships you form are the best things about living here.”