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Griswold named Barb City's Volunteer of the Year

Published: Friday, May 17, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT
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(Photo provided)
Barb City Manor Board President Gary VanderMeer presents the Volunteer of the Year award to Ruby Griswold on April 23.

DeKALB – Ruby Griswold is one of Barb City Manor’s biggest boosters.

Griswold, an 83-year-old resident of Barb City Manor Retirement Home, has been known to stop visitors on tours of the facility to tell them how wonderful it is.

“I tell them the truth,” Griswold said. “It’s a nice place to live. I tell them all of the advantages of living here.”

Tour guide is just one of the many hats Griswold wears at Barb City Manor, which is why she was honored April 23 with the retirement community’s Volunteer of the Year award. The award recognizes a member of Barb City Manor’s auxiliary volunteer program, FRIENDS, who has provided at least three years of exceptional service to the retirement community and its residents.

“I was so honored to be Volunteer of the Year because it’s something I really enjoy doing,” Griswold said.

Griswold was selected based on her positive attitude, outgoing nature and the many hours of service she puts into a wide variety of duties, said Barb City Manor Assistant Administrator Maureen Gerrity.

Griswold spends most of her time volunteering as a cashier in the gift shop, managing the community’s resale shop and lending a hand whenever and wherever she is needed, Gerrity said.

“Not only is she a great help, she promotes Barb City Manor and encourages people to come here and try it,” she said. “She’s definitely an asset here.”

Born and raised in Genoa, Griswold moved to Barb City Manor after her husband, Morris, died in 2008. The two had been residents of Hinckley, and have a son in DeKalb.

After Morris died, Griswold said she was in poor health. But since moving to the Barb City Manor, her health and wellness have improved.

She joined the FRIENDS organization in 2010, which she said was a perfect fit for her.

“I enjoy working with people,” she said. “This was an ideal setup, that I could work with friends and have all this interaction.”

Those who often interact with Griswold, including Gerrity, said they enjoy her presence and warm conversations. Many have deemed some of her witty one-liners as “Rubyisms.”

“She’s just got a quip for every occasion,” Gerrity said. “She’s got a wonderful sense of humor.”

When she’s not volunteering, Griswold is an avid reader who finishes about six to eight books a month. She also frequently sews, using her skills to make quilts or hem clothes for other residents with whom she has become close over the past five years.

“The residents and staff here are just great people,” Griswold said. “It’s like one big family living here.”

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