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Bingo! Volunteer helps make games fun for seniors

P-E-A-R-L spells "super volunteer," as far as Connie Lake, site manager at the Ironton Senior Center, is concerned.

For the past month, Pearl Willis has been volunteering every Monday and Friday to call the Bingo numbers for the popular games.

"It has been super having her. Usually, one of the seniors will call the games, but this lets everyone play," Lake said. "I would take four or five more just like her."

Willis, a New York native who has lived in Ironton for 58 years, has also volunteered at Jo-Lin Health Center about three days a week for the past few years.

She does not like to talk about herself, and said volunteering helps her as much as it does anyone else because it has kept her busy since her husband passed away two years ago.

"The most rewarding part is helping people," she said. "We were all put on this earth to help one another. I have the time, so I help out."

With five children and three grandchildren scattered across the U.S., Willis says she has been 39 years-young for quite a while.

"No woman ever gets older than 39. Isn't that strange?" she said. "My children are the same age as I am."

Carol Redmond, Willis' daughter, said her mother has always been generous with her time.

"Her and Dad always did a lot for people. They love helping people," she said.

In her typical modest fashion, Willis said the people who really deserve recognition are all the employees at Jo-Lin, who care so much for the people there.

Willis' quick wit and good sense of humor helps her handle senior center regulars and notorious "troublemakers" like Tom Hatfield.

"You have only been here for a month?" he teases her. "It seems like it has been years."

Willis said she enjoys helping people, but Hatfield is beyond any help she can provide.

"We could probably get in two more games a day if it was not for Tom," she joked.