Seniors stay busy with volunteer efforts

Editor’s Note: This the second of a series about the lives of Webster City area residents of who are at least 90 years old. All are still very active with friends, church and volunteer activities. Most still drive and live on their own.

More than one-third of Iowa’s population take part in some type of volunteering – 36 percent to be exact, according to figures from the Corporation for National and Community Service. That means the state ranks 5th in the nation for volunteering.

In Webster City, there’s an dedicated group of folks over the age of 55 who volunteer and some have stayed active into their 90s.

Lifelong Webster City residents Dorothy Myers and Maxine Brownfield are two such volunteers. At 90 and 91, respectively, Myers and Brownfield donate their time to help others in the community.

Myers was born on a farm in the area and went to country school for eight years and then went to high school in town, graduating in 1942. She and husband Oliver, now deceased, had two sons. Myers worked at the Hamilton County Credit Bureau for 35 years and later at the Congregate Meals site for 7 years.

She retired when she was 80. But retirement for Myers didn’t mean taking it easy. She’s on the go a lot, and now spends some of her free time helping others.

“I volunteer at Southfield, helping out with bingo,” she said. “I enjoy that.”

Brownfield agreed.

“It makes you feel good to help the people out there. Some of them can’t see or hear,” she said. “And they need a little help.”

Born on a farm north of Stonega, Brownfield also attended country school and graduated from Webster City High School. She and her late husband, Estelle, raised three children. They have five grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. She worked for the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service office and also Hahne Printing.

The two women also volunteer for RSVP. They’re part of a group that tackles a variety of projects for RSVP, like making tray favors for the nursing homes or book marks for the library.

“I hear the kids like those and they’re kind of fun to make,” Myers said. “We like what we do.”

Even with their volunteer activities, these busy ladies still find time for cards. Along with others who gather at the Webster City Community and Senior Center, they play 500, Hand and Foot, and other games. Both said they enjoyed the conversation and fun.

Another favorite pastime is attending auctions. They don’t always go with an eye to buy, but enjoy watching the auction process.

“We just like to watch what’s going on,” said Brownfield. Of course, it’s not always easy when the auction features belongings from a friend who has died.

“That’s kind of sad to watch,” said Myers.

The best advise they can give to young people looking to live to a ripe old age?

“Keep busy and stay active,” said Myers.

“You just got to do it,” Brownfield said.