Simpson goes all-out to help elderly

Mary Jane Simpson has served two years as an Americorp VISTA for the Portales Retired and Senior Volunteer Program. Her supervisor Vonnie Banther says she is a vital part of the team, and has helped the local Community Services Center rank third in the state for the number of accurate federal returns filed. Her term as VISTA volunteer will end on April 24.
Said Banther: “It has been an absolute pleasure for her to work under this program, and I am proud of the difference she has helped to make in our community. She is truly a unique individual, extremely kind and dedicated.”

Name: Mary Jane Simpson
Job: Americorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) volunteer for the Retired Senior and Volunteer Program of Portales.
Age: 47
Hometown: Portales
Family: One son, Tyrel

What do you think of Portales?
“It is a great place to live. I was born and raised here, my family is here, and my friends are here. It is a friendly place.”

What’s your idea of a perfect day?
“Any day that I can help someone and be able to visit with my friends, I thank the Lord for that.”

What is your fondest memory of Portales?
“The Little Wranglers Rodeo, because I learned to rodeo. I love horses so anything that has to do
with horses is enjoyable to me.”

Who’s invited to your dinner party and why?
“All of my family and friends because I could not survive without them. I need every single one of
them.”

Who are your favorite entertainers?
“Mel Gibson and John Wayne.”

What is your favorite TV show, past and present?
“Past would be the ‘Andy Griffith Show,’ and present would be ‘CSI.’”

What’s so great about your favorite sport?
“Rodeoing, you meet all kinds of people.”

What do you envision your life being like in 10 years?
“Continuing to be self-sufficient and hopefully retired.”

What is your greatest fear?
“Not being able to live to see my son graduate high school and then later on, college.”

What is your greatest hope?
“That my son will go on to college.”

What is your favorite smell?
“Vanilla.”

What would you like printed on your gravestone?
“A good mother and sister.”

What’s your theme song?
“‘On the Wings of a Dove.’”

What is your favorite taste?
“Mexican food.”

What do you like best about your job?
“The people I work with. I love being able to serve the community. I especially love working with the
seniors. I enjoy providing services through the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program. I am able to provide help to those that truly need it. I can tell the community appreciates what I do because of the trust and loyalty they demonstrate to me.”

What is the least favorite part about your job?
“Nothing.”

Tell us about your parents:
“I had wonderful parents. They taught us the difference between right and wrong, and gave us high standards to live by.”

Tell us about your pets:
“I have three cats: a black, a gray, and a tabby. I also have one dog.”

If you could do one thing and money was no object, what would you do?
“I would make sure that no one went hungry, and I would want world peace.”

Who is your hero and why?
“John Wayne, he was a man’s man. He was never afraid, and in the end he died of cancer but he gave his life up for the Lord.”

What do you do in your spare time?
“I make quilts and volunteer as much as possible. My love of quilting is something very near and dear to my heart.”

Tell us about why you decided to volunteer as an Americorps VISTA?
“I was already volunteering a lot within the community. By becoming an
Americorps VISTA volunteer, I would have an opportunity to do even more
of what I love, volunteering! It gives me an opportunity to give back to
the community that has given so much to me!”

Tell us a little more about your clients, the people you work with?
“I do some of my volunteer service with the commodities program; this program
serves the elderly, disabled and low income residents in the community. I also
work with the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program) during tax
season. Both of these programs provide services to seniors, and to low
income families. My main focus in my volunteer work is to provide
service to the seniors of Roosevelt County, finding ways to address and
meet their needs. I am currently working with the Retired & Senior
Volunteer Program.”

Do you have any interesting stories about your job? If so, do tell…
“In my first year as a VISTA volunteer, I attended a conference on aging
in Glorieta. This was a wonderful experience. I had a wonderful
time. I met a lot of neat people who have done things that I would not have
been able to experience otherwise. Another interesting aspect of my job
is the interaction I experience when working with the seniors, they have
taught me many lessons.”