MOUNTGILEAD — Last Monday Woodside Village Admissions Director Chris Willford organized a dinner held at the Baptist Church in Edison to honor and thank the Chester Arbor Gleaners.
The event included a barbecue pork dinner prepared by Willford and his wife Tammie and served with Woodside Village Administrator Frank Adkins. The local Gleaners were also honored by a visit from the national Gleaner Vice President Jaime Linden.
“You can’t begin to realize the impact you have on your community,” Willford said and described the many ways the Gleaners had supported Woodside residents as well as many community projects they support every year.
Willford said the Gleaners have helped with Bingo and entertainment at Woodside, supplied pizza for the entire staff, sent greeting cards and Pat Maxwell has played the dulcimer for residents.
Linden, who travelled to Ohio from Adrian, Michigan said that the Chester Arbor is one of 18 Arbors in Ohio with 68 total in the USA.
“The Chester Arbor Gleaners are so humble, yet they do so much for the community,” Linden said. “They are a role model for the home office and often give suggestions for other arbors.”
“They always go way above and beyond what they are asked to do,” Linden said. “When we say can you do X? they do XYZ and start all over with the alphabet of ABC.”
Gleaner members Deb and Dick Noll said the Gleaner Life Insurance Society is a non-profit organization that is 127 years old. Funds from any profit go to the local arbor groups to support their community projects. The local arbors choose what projects in the community they wish to support.
Deb Noll said they have four “Impact” projects to complete every year. This year their Impact projects are: 4-H Youth, Food impact that includes food pantries, Hygiene impact with donations of cleaning and hygiene supplies for Hidden Lakes Campground and First Responders Impact project.
“Sometimes we have hands on projects like cookies for first responders,” said Noll. “And we also support projects with donations like a service dog that we sponsored.”
The speaker for the event was Kendra Irwin who is Youth Ambassador for the Tourette Association.
Irwin, a student at Mount Gilead High School, spoke about her personal experience with Tourette syndrome. She spoke with candor about the experience she has had since eighth grade with uncontrollable movements or “tics.”
Irwin emphasized that understanding of the disease is important since it is a hereditary disease and it is often misunderstood. It is her goal to spread knowledge about the disease for which there is no cure. (See www.tourette.org.)
After Gleaners gave Irwin a rousing applause, Arbor Gleaner President Rita Barton said it was wonderful to hear a high school student speak with such poise, confidence and honesty.
For more information on Chester Arbor Gleaners see Face Book: Gleaner Life: Chester Arbor.