Susan Vacca volunteers in Greenwood. Rose Lincoln/Bethel Citizen

GREENWOOD — Susan Vacca volunteers at The Greenwood Historical Society and The Locke Mills American Legion Unit 68

Where do you volunteer? 

Right now, I’m actively involved with American Legion Auxiliary Unit 68 in Locke Mills and the Greenwood Historical Society. I volunteered with the Greenwood Fire Department Auxiliary when it was active, and pitch in to help with fundraising events at my husband’s Masonic lodges as opportunities arise. I also served on the Greenwood Bicentennial Committee.

I’m not sure if this and counts as volunteering, but I love to sew and have made fidget quilts and weighted blankets for residents at the Maine Veterans Home in South Paris, ditty bags for homeless veteran standdowns, and many masks for distribution to family and friends during COVID.

Prior to my retirement, I would volunteer on an ad hoc basis for community projects and events. For many years, as a complement to my husband’s history presentations to various groups, I would do presentations on eighteenth century women’s dress. (Yes, I made the garments I wore – there’s that sewing thread!)

Going way back, when I was in high school, I volunteered for a community health education center hotline and helped out on local political campaigns; I also volunteered on various projects in college.


How many hours each week?

It’s hard to quantify how many hours I spend. For example, as secretary for my American Legion Auxiliary Unit, I might spend as little as a few hours a week on paperwork , or as many as 20 hours, in addition to volunteering in the kitchen at Jackson Silver Post for the monthly Texas Hold’em Tournament (about 8 hours) and for other events as they arise.

What I do with the Greenwood Historical Society is similarly hard to quantify, as it is also done pretty much on an ad hoc basis. Aside from Trustees meetings, I recently spent 26 hours over the course of a week on a transcription project for an anticipated publication. I guess you could say that I’m more project oriented than anything else.

What inspires you to volunteer?

I’m not sure if it’s inspiration, but rather a belief that it’s important to contribute in some way to those around us. Besides, what better way is there to get out to meet interesting people, without the pressure of paid employment? After decades of interacting with others

on a daily basis, retirement brought (at least in my case) a need to connect with others and to continue to learn and to grow.


Do you or did you have a paid career, too? If so, could you talk about it? What brought you to volunteerism?

I spent 35 years in academia, the last thirty of which were in a career development office, first as librarian, then as director of resources, technology, and data. Prior to that I served as a personnel officer in a large academic library system (my Master’s degree is in Library and Information Science). My first job right out of college was as a clerk in a diplomatic office.

In the career development office where I spent most of my career, every day was different. I might interact with a freshman, a faculty member, a worried parent, and a frazzled graduate student, before lunch (if there was time for lunch), then resolve a software issue, generate a report, or teach a research skills workshop in the afternoon. Though each of these activities was unique, service and education were at their core. I also served as a volunteer freshman advisor for a number of years. It’s hard to shake that sense of mission after all that time, so I think that’s what keeps me “in the game” so to speak.

What basic skills do you need to do your volunteer work?

I’d say a willingness to get involved and to do whatever needs to be done. That’s the beauty of volunteering, at least with my activities. There’s no hierarchy, but rather a shared commitment to the task at hand.

Looking ahead what plans do you have regarding your volunteerism?


I hope to be able to stay active. I’m not sure what the future will bring, but I like to think of this as an adventure in lifelong learning. I look forward to meeting many more fascinating people and to learning something new every time I walk out the door. It’s a big world out there.

Is there anything you would say to someone who is thinking about volunteering?

There is always a need somewhere. Not only can your passions and interests can lead to fulfilling experiences for you, but others will benefit from whatever you can contribute. Volunteering is also a great way to explore work environments and to learn new skills. Who knows? Your volunteer work might lead to a new career, so get out there and have at it!


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