Volunteer of the MonthFebruary 2009
Ms. Virginia, the Real BossBy Mindy Weidman
I met Virginia Turner in the first five minutes of my career at Believe In Tomorrow. She swept into my office to welcome me bearing a blue, fleece blanket which, she explained, was the organization’s uniform that I must have if I was going to work here.
When Virginia’s son, Bill, started volunteering with Believe In Tomorrow over 20 years ago, he asked other members of his family, Virginia included, to help at the annual Benefit and Auction.
“And they haven’t forgiven me since,” jokes Bill.
From her first job at the Benefit and Auction, Virginia was hooked as a volunteer. She dove into helping communicate the mission of Believe In Tomorrow throughout Baltimore communities, stopping by smaller events and fairs to pass out literature.
Things the Believe In Tomorrow staff loves about the Volunteer of the Month
“She knows better than everyone how our events should be run, but works hard and listens to whoever is in charge (I think if I were in her shoes, I'd get bossy!) I seriously don't know what we would do without her. I always enjoy her morning visits to my office -- definitely a bright spot in the day!”
“Her chocolate saltines and her delicious hot milk coconut cake with homemade fudge icing....YUMMMMMMY...THE BEST!! She can put her hands on anything you ask for. And her organizational skills? She is great. I want to be just like her when I grow up!”
“I appreciate her easy-going temperament.”
“My favorite thing about Ms. Virginia is her turtlenecks under her seasonal sweatshirts and her ‘mmmm-hmmmming’ when she agrees with you. Seriously though, she is very, very organized and experienced when it comes to events. She is a behind-the-scenes hard-worker who never takes any credit for all she does.”
“I met Virginia in 1996 and have enjoyed working with her through the years. It has been an honor to be associated with Virginia and her family.”
“My favorite thing about Ms Virginia is how she can remember exact details from each and every year and events.”
“Ms. Virginia is the kindest, most dedicated person I know. She knows the answer to any question that arises and is always there to help no matter what the task. She is invaluable to all of us.”
“She can recall the food that was served by each restaurant for the past twenty-six Benefits and what she ate (or did not eat) at each one.”
“I love how Mrs. Virginia is always in a good mood and willing to do anything.”
“Gosh, I just love her endurance. She comes in a couple times a week and cleans up our messes. God bless her, when I'm close to her age I won't even want to bother cleaning/organizing for someone else other than myself. I also love that she shows interest in all of us. She makes her rounds to see how everyone is doing and really cares about our successes. And ditto to everyone else's comments. She's just good people!"
“I am grateful that Ms. Turner never stays mad with me for too long.” – Brian Morrison
“I like the whole idea of it,” says Virginia. “I had a lot of admiration for Brian [Believe In Tomorrow CEO and Founder] for starting the organization.”
Since then, Virginia has dug her hands into all aspects of the organization: special events, openings of new houses, even keeping a watchful eye over the main office. Virginia does it all.
“She knows exactly where everything is,” says one Believe In Tomorrow staff member about the office inventory. “It doesn't matter if it was hidden away ten years ago or last week.”
As one of the organization’s longest standing volunteers, Virginia witnessed the inception and transformation of Believe In Tomorrow’s housing program. At every Believe In Tomorrow house opening, she spiffs and cleans all corners of the house.
Attending every house opening required travel to Ocean City, Fenwick Island, Bethany Beach, and Deep Creek Lake. But traveling doesn’t stop Virginia.
“I’ve volunteered at all of them. I’ve volunteered [in Ocean City] at Springfest, Sunfest, anywhere they need me, I go.”
During construction of The Children’s House at Johns Hopkins in 1992, Virginia recruited the youth from her church, West Baltimore United Methodist, to join the effort. Her enthusiasm had about a dozen children and teenagers spackling and cleaning to get the house ready for the move in.
Today, Virginia enthusiastically awaits the opening of the Believe In Tomorrow House at Pinnacle Falls in North Carolina, scheduled for later in 2009. Out of everything she does for Believe In Tomorrow, she enjoys getting the houses ready for their openings the most.
And Virginia’s favorite part about being named Volunteer-of-the-Month?
Says Virginia: “Only having to behave myself for one month!”