Charlotte Raymond is a giver. The St. Simons Island resident has a heart for service, and 35 years ago, she found the perfect place to share that — Hospice of the Golden Isles.
The journey to teaming up with the local nonprofit began when she moved to the Isles more than three decades ago.
”I retired here from a block and half from White House in Washigton, D.C. I worked as a contracting officer with the National Science Foundation,” she said. “It was a fantastic job.”
But Raymond gave it up and moved to the island, full time, in 1978. It did not take long, however, before she was bored, and looking for something to do. Ideally, she wanted to find an organization where she could make a positive impact.
”I had worked all my life. So I was talking with one of my girlfriends at church and I said, ‘I need something to do.’ She said ‘how about hospice?,’” Raymond said. “I didn’t even know what the word meant, but my friend gave me some literature about it and I went with hospice.”
Raymond served on the board until her term expired. But she was not ready to give it up.
“I became a volunteer then. One thing I did was making the scrapbook. I also went to visit patients in their homes,” she said. “I would sit with patients whenever the spouse needed to get out of the house to do something.”
Raymond also discovered another way she could use her talents to help others. A longtime knitter, she decided to make prayer shawls to comfort patients in their time of need.
“I saw a brochure there about prayer shawls so I decided to make those. The shawls are a gift and there are prayers by the person making it while they are making it then the clergy person does what clergy people do ... a blessing before they are given out,” Raymond said with a laugh.
The work is meticulous but something that she truly enjoys. Not only does it offer her a creative outlet, it also gives her an immense sense of joy.
“But I have some great stories come back with how these shawls have been a blessing to the patients. It will absolutely make tears come to your eyes. I receive 100 percent more than I put into them,” she said.
That is her attitude toward Hospice of the Golden Isles as a whole. It is what has kept her coming back weekly for more than three decades, even today at a spry 92 years old.
And now, Hospice is looking to honor Raymond for her dedication. The organization is hosting Cocktails with Charlotte, a fundraiser, which will be held at 6 p.m. Aug. 3 at Sea Palms on St. Simons Island. Heavy hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar will also be available. The cost is $25 per person.
For her part, Raymond just wants to give back to the organization that has given so much to her.
”Hospice changed my life. It really did. It made me a much, much better person,” she said. “I want to pay them back and I pray that it is a success. I really want it to be a successful event for them.”
It, she adds, gives her a daily dose of joy and satisfaction. When Raymond is not giving back at Hospice, she can be found out and about, enjoying life. She suggests others try the same.
“I do play bridge quite often,” she said. “But there’s also so much at church you can do to be of help to other people. And with training that hospice gave me ... it makes you want to be the person who helps other people.”
Contact Lindsey Adkison at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 912-265-8320, ext. 346 to suggest a person for a column.