Gloria G. Bair calls volunteering a blessing. The organizations that benefit from her efforts would say it is they who are blessed to have her.
Recently named the Volunteer of the Year for the Carroll County Fuel Fund, Ms. Bair makes "an outstanding commitment to community service and has a profound dedication to the work" of the fund, said Kelly Parrish, assistant director of the county Human Services Programs.
Ms. Bair also offers willing hands and long hours to the county chapters of the Salvation Army and the American Cancer Society.
"I see volunteering as the work the Lord wants me to do," Ms. Bair said. "I don't get a paycheck, but I do get a lot of good feelings, and you can't put a dollar figure on the satisfaction you get from helping others."
She gives credit to her husband, Robert "Max" Bair, executive assistant to the Carroll County commissioners, "who has a job that allows me to do this work and is very supportive of me. We have always been people-oriented and have not pursued materialism."
A Manchester resident, Ms. Bair, 45, works on call for the North Eastern Social Action Program and assists the needy with emergency rent, clothing, medicine and fuel needs.
"We help raise fuel funds and also help our clients help themselves," she said. "If someone is threatened with eviction or fuel cut-off, they can come to us."
A former teacher, Ms. Bair said she especially enjoys working with the elderly.
She often arranges visits between elderly shut-ins.
"Just listen to older people," she said. "Share their history. They make their experiences exciting. If only we could get children to listen, too."