Paying it forward: Life in retirement — volunteering

Seventy-five-year-old Louise Holmes has been volunteering since her retirement as owner of Flexmag Industries.

Not only has she been involved with the Boys and Girls Club of Washington County, she’s volunteered for many other organizations in the area.

Question: How long have you been a volunteer?

Answer: I forget what year. It was after I retired. I knew if I didn’t do something, I’d become a couch potato.

Q: Where do you volunteer?

A: With Kiwanis, I sit on the board with the Marietta Community Foundation. I’m also a past president of the board for the humane society. I just recently started working with Sam (Anderson of the Boys and Girls Club). It keeps me busy enough.

Q: What made you decide to become a volunteer?

A: When I decided I had to do something with my life (after retirement), so I didn’t become a couch potato, I started tennis lessons. I started playing with a group of ladies two times a week. Somehow I got involved with these organizations. It was one of those raise your hand and you’re it (things). It doesn’t take much to be president, right? Wrong!

Q: You’re involved in so much. What’s the most challenging part of your volunteer work?

A: Probably the most challenging part is making people understand why we are what we are, why we’re doing what we’re doing. With Kiwanis, we raise money to educate children. We start them very young to teach them the good things in life, what they should be doing…teaching them character. It’s why we need money. We’re in our 60th year this February for putting on pancake days. We’ll start campaigning in January.

Q: What’s your favorite part about volunteering?

A: I’m a creative person and I like to create the signs and ideas. We helped gather animals for WMOA’s window; a lot of the stuffed animals and bears. In 2006, I wrote my children’s book, “Miss Sadie and the Good Life.” I published it myself and got 2,000 copies. The money went to Fort Frye High School’s auditorium fund, which put air conditioning in the auditorium. I also dressed up as Meemaw for a “Reading with Meemaw” event. That’s one of the ways I helped the Boys and Girls Club. I also did a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club at the Riverside Cafe. (The owner) opened up the front and people came in a dressed up for Christmas and we took their pictures.

Q: Will you continue to volunteer in the future?

A: Oh, probably. It keeps me out of trouble and off the streets, you know. I drag my husband into things sometimes and he’s always asking, ‘What have you gotten us into now?’

Q: Do you have any advice for those looking to volunteer?

A: It makes you feel good, like you’re doing something good for your community. Get out there and see what needs to be done because otherwise it won’t get done. Somebody has to do it.

Amanda Nicholson conducted this interview.