Volunteer Corner

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Clement keeps busy calendar with countless programs


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – On any given day, you may see Mabel Clement out and about in St. John Parish. The LaPlace resident keeps active with her service to others, which covers many areas.

As a member of the LaPlace VFW Auxiliary 3337, she is involved with many programs.

In Mid-April of each year, the group visits St. John Schools to deliver their “Americanism Program.’ The timing is in regard to the May 1 celebration of ‘Loyalty Day,’

This year, the group went to LaPlace Elementary School and St. Joan of Arc School. Children in the lower grades are taught the proper way to fold a flag, Pledge of Allegiance and other things associated with patriotism.

An essay contest, ‘What Loyalty Day Means to Me,” is held for the upper grades.

“The main purpose of the Americanism Program is to sponsor patriotism,” said Clement. “We used to go to all the schools, but only visited two of them this year.”

The retired homemaker also participates in the monthly birthday parties given for the residents of Twin Oaks Nursing Home in LaPlace. Her auxiliary handles party duty once every five weeks.

Honorees are treated with a birthday cake, gifts and a jovial atmosphere. “They really enjoy this,” said Clement. “Its a good feeling for them to know that there is someone here to help them celebrate their birthday as well as holidays.”

Clement’s sewing skills have followed into her volunteer work. As a quilter and seamstress, she has developed many unique creations.

One of those is ‘The Diddy Bag.’ Many of these bags have been distributed at the Veterans Home in Jackson, LA; as well as the Veteran’s Hospital in New Orleans.

Clement began making the 5-inch x 7-inch cloth bags with a top drawstring when her group scheduled a visit to the Veterans Hospital. Although she doesn’t remember who it was, someone gave the bags their unique name, and it stuck. “They can use the bags for storing a toothbrush, money, or other small things,” she said.

The busy grandmother also gives of her time to the St. Joan of Arc Thrift Shop, helping sort and coordinate donated items.

Clement’s children and grandchildren are very supportive of her endeavors, even if that means she is sometimes MIA. “They always tell me that they can’t find me,” she laughed.

The devoted volunteer will continue with her work as secretary of the LaPlace VFW Auxiliary 3337, the organization in which she began her volunteer career 26 years ago. “This (volunteering) opened up a whole new world for me,” she said. “You just don’t know how it makes a difference in someone’s life.”