Peggy Grasley tears up when she talks about how her love of volunteerism has caught on with her 12-year-old granddaughter.
Grasley, 55, of Woodstock, had the young girl staying with her for a few days around the time of the annual Children’s Health and Safety Fair at McHenry County College. Grasley had signed up to help.
“She went with me and at first she wasn’t sure if she wanted to spend three hours of her day helping direct people,” Grasley said. “After like the first 15 minutes, she was like, ‘Grandma, I can do this.’”
Her granddaughter said she also signed up for a volunteering club at her school because she saw Grasley’s positive influence.
“I just think that you pass it on,” Grasley said. “If other people see how it makes you feel, they want to get involved with it, too.”
In 2008, Grasley was going through a job change and decided to spend her extra time doing some good.
Family Health Partnership Clinic’s executive director is Suzanne Hoban, Grasley’s neighbor.
And so Grasley started by helping set up the organization’s annual gala.
“I’m one of those people that when I’m involved with something, I don’t just give 50 percent of my effort, I give over 110 percent,” Grasley said. “So I went and helped them out that morning and stayed to right before the event started.”
With Grasley’s help, the gala transformed into one of the clinic’s top fundraising events, volunteer coordinator Kathy Rauch said.
“Peggy has embraced the clinic these past four years, and we are so blessed that she chose Family Health Partnership Clinic to put [in] her energy,” Rauch said.
Rauch said Grasley spends countless hours seeking donations, then combining them into baskets that are bid on at the event.
Grasley also helps with the Care 4 Breast Cancer Race signage. In that role, she is responsible for placing 200-plus signs that help route the 2,600 participants and 500 volunteers through Woodstock to the race site.
“Peggy overflows with great, creative ideas and generates enthusiasm wherever she is,” Rauch said.
Grasley took on an additional responsibility in picking up donated bread – after 11 p.m. when the restaurant is closed – from Panera Bread, bagging it, and then repackaging it for patients to choose from.
Volunteering is just part of who she is, Grasley said.
“What Family Health Partnership is doing for the community, it’s much needed,” she said. “It just makes me feel so good that my talents and things that I do can benefit somebody.”
The Grasley lowdown
Who is she? Volunteer for Family Health Partnership Clinic
Family: Husband of 37 years, Chris; two children; four grandchildren
Part-time job: Substitute teacher in Woodstock District 200
Favorite TV show: “NCIS” and “Grey’s Anatomy”