Volunteer Mary Barton: Dedicated to Noble Residents

“I know every nook and cranny at Noble Horizons,” pronounces long-time volunteer Mary Barton, “I was one of the first volunteers at Noble and helped organize their first Christmas Fair.” Since then, Mary has had a hand in virtually every volunteer program at Noble, bringing energy, leadership and a good dose of humor to every corner of the Noble community.

These days, without the opportunity to visit campus, she thinks about Noble a lot, particularly the residents. “I miss seeing them and I hope they’re doing okay,” she shares.

A family member of Fran Wagner, one of Noble’s early benefactors and for whom Wagner Terrace is named, connected Mary with Noble Horizons. “Fran Wagner’s daughter was my neighbor. One day Fran asked if I’d like to help out. I started running bingo. Back in those days there was no recreation department like there is today,” recounts Mary. Bingo led to volunteering  with the Noble Horizons Auxiliary, whose primary goal is to help make life for Noble Horizons residents as pleasurable and as fulfilling as possible.

For nearly 40 years Mary has served on the Auxiliary Board as president, vice president, and treasurer. She helped establish the Country Store and the annual Festival of Trees. For now, she is the tag sale chair, an event which occurs twice a year and is made possible by donations from residents and the local community.

In the spring and fall, Mary solicits donations and generates publicity for the sale, empties the storage space of all tag sale goods, sets up and prices items, and runs the sale with other volunteers. The money raised is put toward events and resources for residents such as socials, movie nights, a subscription to the large-print New York Times.

Mary is most proud of two Auxiliary fund expenditures that she introduced during her tenure as president--the annual lobster dinner and the excursion fund. “I wanted to add some fun things and no one said no,” admits Mary. She’s especially gratified by the impact of the excursion fund, which allows residents with restricted income to participate in local cultural and recreational activities regardless of ability to pay.

While the tag sale requires very hard work, it has also generated a plethora of memories and stories Mary enjoys sharing. “One time a piece of art hanging on the wall as part of an art exhibition was accidentally sold. I think the woman who bought it must have been pretty happy. Another time someone put down on a table a pretty foldable cane with decorations on it. They brought it out with other items and we sold that too,” she chuckles. Her conscience is clear--it’s all for a Noble cause.

While Mary isn’t fundraising for the Auxiliary, she’s visiting residents in all parts of the Noble campus. “Everyone knows me and they look forward to seeing me.” These days, she spends much of her time in Whitridge, whose caregivers provide skilled care and memory support. It’s here that she also works as a private duty health aide for a resident, but engages other residents as well during the course of her shift. “I help take care of a gentleman in Whitridge. When I’m in the dining room I help him and everyone at his table, I’m a new fresh face. I just talk and say hi, give them some attention, hold their hand. It’s not that I’m special.”

And in that statement, Mary’s humility and dedication to Noble for the past four decades crystalizes. It makes her pretty special, indeed.

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