I think as we age and retire many of us look for something meaningful to occupy our time after our careers are over. Volunteering is an obvious choice. A person who embraced this choice unreservedly was Shirley Stephens. Fortunately for us, her choice for volunteering was the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program. Shirley passed away two days ago and leaves a legacy of memories that will long remain with us.
I am not sure exactly how long Shirley was affiliated with the program My first photograph of her dates to the 2007 food run to Sanders-Big Mountain-Teesto, but I suspect her involvement precedes this.
Besides coming faithfully on Tuesdays and Fridays, Shirley was usually in attendance when there were special functions at the warehouse. Craft day, where we make Christmas ornament for the Elders, was one such event where she was usually present.
In 2012 she shows an ornament that she created on behalf of Sally Tah at Many Farms.
In more recent years, Shirley's health began to fail and she had siginificant problems with her vision which meant she could no longer drive. Other volunteers, however, would faithfully pick her up and bring her to the warehouse and return her to her home. When she reached a point where it was necessary for her to move to a retirement facility, her attendance at the warehouse necessarily dropped off. But she did make one more appearance at craft day this past June with her daughter Kathy.
We extend our sympathies to her family.