Every now and then I get a profile story that brings together a member of the community with the Friendship Centers. Meet Mary Michaels. Although she passed away last week, her loving spirit and memory are a big part of what the Friendship Centers are all about.
Mary Michaels moved here from Pennsylvania in 2010, where she was very active at her local senior center and church. She was not thrilled to be making this move in her late 80’s, but her daughter wanted her closer, understandably so.
Mary had an independent spirit and a most gentle heart. Her daughter, Susan, tells me that Mary was her happiest when volunteering. (She seemed to embody the truth that, it is in giving that we receive).
This is where the Friendship Centers come in. Mary started eating lunch with us weekly, and made a couple of friends she always dined with. Together the three of them listened to music and watched the dancers in the afternoon. On Wednesdays, Mary would arrive early to roll the plastic ware into napkins for the dining room, which is a very important service.
Mary took full advantage of the opportunities at the Center to socialize and volunteer. She met friends and it gave her a purpose and a means to continue doing what she loved most, serving others.
Mary passed last week on May 5th. We will miss her for certain, but are all the better for knowing her. She and her family wanted everyone to know how much the Friendship Centers did for her and how much it has to offer seniors throughout southwest Florida.
Mary's daughter, Susan, gave me permission to write about Mary and to convey just how much it meant to her to come here and be part of this vibrant community.
About Donna Paganello
As Nutrition Coordinator, Donna enrolls anyone 60 or older who lives in Sarasota county into the nutrition program. She's also involved in lunch reservations at the Senior Center Monday - Friday, lining up musicians during the lunch hour, facilitating socializing and teaching a nutrition related topic each month.