Great-grandmother hasn’t slowed down yet

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 9, 2004

By SUE ELLEN ROSS – Staff Reporter

GARYVILLE – While working as a salesclerk and store manager, Betty Vicknair learned many valuable skills. After retirement in 1994, some of them have continued through the volunteer work she offers in the tri-parishes area.

The variety of places she visits call for adherence to a schedule, as well as using patience in working with different events and situations.

As co-chairman of the Garyville Centennial celebration last year, she helped conduct research as well as assisting in coordinating events. “I didn’t do this alone, I had plenty of help,” she said.

Everyone felt very pleased that various events of the centennial celebration last fall were successful, and the committee received many positive comments to that effect. “That meant a lot to me,” said Vicknair. “We felt this was part of preserving history for the young people in our town.”

Evidence of her dedication to both her volunteerism and her green thumb is the ‘Prayer Garden’ located on the grounds of St. Hubert’s Catholic Church.

Vicknair canvassed for funds 10 years ago for the shrubs, plants and greenery that can currently be found in the garden. And she took time to plant everything, which culminated into a lush and beautiful area, still in bloom today.

“I don’t work in the garden anymore, it is maintained by others now,” she said. “But I do still help with the flower arrangements inside the church.”

In addition to her church volunteer work, she also offers her time to the Timbermill Museum project in Garyville.

Vicknair also works with the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) regarding assistance in other areas.

“Wherever they need me, I will go,” she said. “I don’t volunteer because I want a pat on the back. I do it because it is very rewarding.”

Total service to others usually logs in at approximately 65 hours a month for the Garyville resident. And she plans to continue as long as she is able. “The day I stop volunteering, I will not be existing,” she laughed.

When Vicknair is not traveling to her volunteer destinations, she spends time with her family: husband Harold; daughters Dina and Carla; sons Bryan and Randy; her eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

She also spends many hours in her yard, tending to the plants, shrubs and flowers that she also considers a labor of love.

There is another side to conducting your life around service to others – you don’t have to be part of a group or organization to be valuable, according to Vicknair. “Don’t be afraid to go forward and offer your help,” People will gladly accept.”

For more information on volunteering with RSVP, call Fay Caire at (985) 785-1037.