Elfreida Kindley Eudy was none too thrilled when she learned she had been selected as the grand marshal for this year’s Mount Pleasant Independence Day Parade. Not because she doesn’t love the parade (she never misses it). And not because she doesn’t have anything to wear (she and her daughter, Rosalia, have already got that planned).
Eudy simply doesn’t think she deserves any recognition, that there’s nothing special about her.
Having spent an afternoon with this lovely lady, I have to emphatically disagree.
At 91, Elfreida Eudy is an active volunteer in her community, and has been for years. She crochets prayer shawls at her church, visits the elderly, works at the hospital, and until recently, delivered food for Meals on Wheels. Every Monday morning you can find her in the intensive care waiting room on the third floor of CMC-Northeast where she offers assistance to patients’ families and loved ones. If it gets too slow there, she’ll go find a cart and deliver magazines to all the other waiting rooms. Eudy likes to keep busy.
“If I stay home and sit in my chair, I’ll give out,” she told me. “You’ve got to keep your legs going.” Getting out and talking to people keeps you feeling younger, she believes, and she’s lived her life that way. “She never meets a stranger,” her daughter says.
“I just love people and doing for people,” Eudy said. “I want to help them any way I can.”
She’s been helping for a long time. She’s logged over 5,300 volunteer hours at the hospital, and received the U.S. Presidential Award for Volunteerism. She began her service there in 1988; her job was to visit all the patients’ rooms with a cart from which they could buy newspapers, magazines and the like. She loved getting to see the patients and their families, offer an encouraging word, and occasionally cleaning a pair of dirty glasses. “I’ve always been a fanatic about people’s dirty glasses,” she explained.
Her tender heart and concern for everyone she meets sometimes makes it hard to see the sadness she may encounter at the hospital, and she may have to momentarily step away. But Eudy’s been coming back for 25 years, with no plans to stop anytime soon.
A lifelong resident of Mount Pleasant, Eudy has known her own share of difficult times. Her sweetheart didn’t return from World War II, she’s been widowed twice, and faced tough times as a single parent to two teenagers. But in her glass-more-than-half-full way, she talks about how blessed she was to have had two good husbands, her children, and a wonderful life.
Elfreida Eudy doesn’t think that there’s anything special about her. But a lady who is still driving and volunteering at age 91, who requests donations to the local food ministry in lieu of gifts for her birthday, and who gets out of bed every morning planning to help someone, definitely deserves a little recognition.