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Published on June 27, 2016

Finding Their ‘New Normal’ Through Volunteering

Clare Gift Shop Volunteers

Carole Gromaski, Jane Sartor-Key, Carron Nevill, JoAnne Yule, Lana Barber, Denise Roe, Linda Purkis, Beverly Magnus, Lenore Hayer, Connie Hadley, Kathy Brokob and Shirley Conn enjoy the time they spend together volunteering at MidMichigan Medical Center – Clare’s Shamrock Patch Gift Shop. Not pictured are Trudy Ferden, Carol Pilon and Sandy Wolfe. 

In 2009, Carron Nevill lost her husband to lung cancer. A month or so later, while she was trying to figure out what her “new normal” was going to be, two of her close friends invited her to volunteer at MidMichigan Medical Center – Clare with them.

“My friends convinced me to step in as Gift Shop chairman, since I have more than 40 years of retail experience,” Nevill said. “I gave it a try, and it proved to be a good fit. It gave me a reason to get up in the morning, and go out and help someone. It was nice to be needed and helped to fill the lonely days.”

Nearly seven years later, Nevill still serves as chairman, and you’ll frequently find her volunteering in the Medical Center’s Shamrock Patch Gift Shop. Her story isn’t unique to the other volunteers, though – of the 14 women who volunteer in the Gift Shop, 10 are widows. “Many times, I’ve been told by one of my fellow volunteers how much coming in means to them,” Nevill said.

The Gift Shop volunteers have formed a tight-knit bond, and truly enjoy the time they spend at the Medical Center. “The sense of being needed and helping others carries through all of our volunteers, wherever they work,” Nevill said.

Nevill encourages anyone who has just a few extra hours a week to fill out an application to join the volunteers. “We are very much in need of new volunteers to help us out,” she said. “If you live in Clare County and have four hours or more a week that you could give toward helping someone else, consider giving back through volunteerism. You’ll be amazed at how good you will feel about what you are doing.”

Those who would like to learn more about becoming a volunteer at MidMichigan Health, may visit

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