Three Salt Lake City women give years of community service
They volunteer to help individuals and groups and, in so doing, enrich the community.
It's the sort of selfless action that brings rewards for everyone.
Recently, the Salt Lake Council of Women honored seven life-long volunteers by naming them to its Hall of Fame in a ceremony that occurs only once every five years. Since 1933, the council has recognized 115 women with its Hall of Fame designation.
To be eligible, each candidate must have volunteered for at least 25 years in community service projects and organizations. Here are three who were honored this year.
Mary Gail Brassard •Shehas volunteered in a host of ways over the past three to four decades.
Among other things, she received the "Medal of Freedom" award from President George W. Bush in 2003 for her humanitarian efforts for senor citizens.
She also earned a five-year community service award from the Daughters of the American Revolution.
"It's quite an honor," she said of the Hall of Fame designation. "I enjoy helping people and making the community better."
Brassard has volunteered for the Road Home Shelter by organizing drives for clothing, diapers and bottles. She also has donated to the Fourth Street Clinic. She even raised funds for a bus for the Catholic Church.
Born into a musical family, Brassard used to sing harmony with her three sisters. In 1982, she teamed up with a friend to form "The Dubble Duo" piano duo and has played at rest homes, hospitals and senor centers.
Her volunteer efforts go on and on. "I've had a lot of experiences. It's a rewarding thing to get involved in the community," she said. "Take advantage of all your opportunities. You never know where they'll lead you."
Carol Jo Radinger • She likes to build community through music, education and business.
She instituted a music outreach program through the Utah Symphony Guild that seeks to teach violin to youngsters. She also has been instrumental in the creation of the Westminster Chamber Orchestra, Intermountain Chamber Orchestra, Intermountain Classical Orchestra and the Opus Chamber Orchestra.
"Interest in the arts and trying to involve others, especially children, is really a thrill," she said.
Radinger also has donated time to the theater. She has served as chairwoman of the Julia B. Bertock Scholarship for theater students at the University of Utah. She previously served as Opera Appreciation Club president, Pioneer Theater Guild president and president of the Utah Opera Guild.
Radinger also has collaborated with the Utah Symphony and the Road Home to help create a program that seeks to help the homeless step back into the community.
"It's all about associating with the arts," she said. "The look in a young child's face when he's playing the violin and never thought he could. It's wonderful."
Linda Kuenstler Itami • She, like many volunteers, keeps busy. As a Realtor, she serves on several volunteer boards and committees that interact with local, state and federal governments.
"We are always thinking about private property rights and protecting the homeowner," she said. "We watch out for the rights of sellers and buyers."
Itami chalks up her volunteerism to her parents, who gave a lot of their time to community and professional organizations.
"I grew up with parents who were givers," she said. "In reflecting about what gets me involved, it's coming from a family where my mom and dad were always helping out others."
Among her many volunteer efforts, Itami belongs to the Salt Lake City chapter of the Assistance League, a national non-profit organization that seeks to help low-income families.
The Assistance League operates a thrift store at 2090 E. 3300 South, where each member logs time. The organization also offers a number of programs, including Book Bank, that makes books available to 3- and 4-year-olds.
Interacting with the less fortunate through Book Bank has broadened Itami horizons, she said.
"You get so much back in return and become more sensitive to your environment," she said. "It's an exciting opportunity."