|Provecho Grill owner Rosie O'Connor and Menifee 24/7 editor Doug Spoon present the Volunteer of the Month Award to Cathleen Gardner (center).|
That's where people like Cathleen Gardner come in.
Gardner and her husband Gary live across the street from Walsh in the Sun City community of Menifee. Gary's age meets Sun City's residential 55+ age requirement. A few years younger, Cathleen is the "baby" of the neighborhood.
Showing her concern for her neighbors -- many of whom are in their 80s -- Cathleen Gardner is always there when she's needed. Moreover, she is proactive in seeking out ways to provide assistance. Whether it's checking on a sick neighbor, taking out the trash or simply providing a listening ear, Gardner gives of her time to help others.
Gardner is the first recipient of Menifee 24/7's Volunteer of the Month Award, sponsored by Provecho Grill.
Volunteers are not only members of official service organizations. In the true spirit of the word, Gardner volunteers her time to be a friend and good neighbor to everyone she meets -- especially her elderly neighbors.
"All I have to do is call her name," said Walsh. "She'll do anything for you. She makes sure to pick up my newspaper in the driveway. She runs errands for me. We have nice talks. Cathleen is a wonderful person."
Cathleen was nominated by her twin sister, Colleen, who described the important role Cathleen plays in her neighborhood.
"Most (of the neighbors) do not have family nearby to assist with emergencies and day to day help," Colleen Gardner said. "She has helped with everything from changing a light bulb to replacing a garbage disposal to lifting up neighbors who have fallen to calling 911 as needed, and many other acts of kindness. She has always had great empathy for the elderly and I admire her kindness each and every day.
"An 80-year-old neighbor there recently told me that Gary and Cathleen Gardner are "angels that God brought/called to live in the neighborhood."
Cathleen says she just tries to do the right thing and treat people the way they deserved to be treated.
"That's just the way I am," she said. "I want to treat people the way I would want to be treated. Everyone is somebody's mother, brother, sister ... you just live your life doing the right thing.
"Connie (Walsh) and I have a code. Once her blinds are open in the morning, I know she's OK. If her blinds aren't open, she knows I'm going in."
Gardner received a $50 gift card from the Provecho Grill Mexican restaurant in Sun City. A very involved community volunteer herself, Provecho owner Rosie O'Connor personally presented the award to this month's recipient.
"She helped a neighbor who was ill with cancer," Walsh recalled about Gardner. "When my husband was in intensive care and after he passed away, she was right there for me. Whenever you need her, she comes running."
If you would like to nominate a Menifee resident for Menifee 24/7's next Volunteer of the Month award, email us at email@example.com. In 200 words or less, tell us why you believe this person should be the Volunteer of the Month. Please include your name, name of the volunteer, and the service the person provides.