Selfless; concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own.
This describes Jean Reighard perfectly. She has five children and six grandchildren, and yet she finds time to serve her community. Recently I had the privilege…no honor to interview Jean for our People of the Cove series.
As I drove away from her home back to my office I found my head churning with thoughts of everything she shared with me. I was eager to hit my keyboard to tell the story of Jean Reighard.
Jean has spent her life giving of herself. Even when she’s sewing, which is her way of relaxing, she is still giving to others.
In the 1970‘s she volunteered for the Northern Bedford High School Band serving meals, preparing banquets, parades, and ball games. She went on to tell me the story about the “hats.” At the time, and some of you may remember, the band hats were tall and fuzzy. Over time and use they became dirty and scuffed. Hundred of hats needed to be cleaned. It was suggested to Jean, at the time, to have a local dry cleaner take care of the hats. You and I would probably take that suggestion, but to Jean the cost was too high and the band relied on fundraisers for their uniforms. So Jean, along with help from a friend, decided to wash each hat by hand in her tub. They worked tirelessly for a day scrubbing the hats clean and then hanging them outside on her clothes line. I can imagine the looks and questions her neighbors had as to why 100 band hats were hanging outside in the breeze. For Jean it was just another day serving her community.
Jean’s heart for serving did not stop at the high school band. For forty years she has volunteered at the Southern Cove Fire Department. Today she helps prepare 26 turkeys a month for their monthly turkey fundraiser. So the next time you’re at the Southern Cove Fire Department’s Turkey Fundraiser, Jean can be seen de-boning turkeys in the kitchen each month.
Along with the fire department Jean also volunteers at the Woodbury Food Bank keeping the shelves stocked as well as preparing spaghetti fundraisers. Just when you think she’s done, you can also find Jean at the clothing bank in Woodbury. Recently they held a Back to School clothing giveaway. She shared people come from a long distance to the clothing bank. During the back to school event, sponsored by her church, the Woodbury Church of the Brethren, they handed out over fifty backpacks filled with school supplies. In the winter her church sponsors a weekly dinner held on Wednesday night at the community center in Woodbury. Guess who helps with the cooking…Jean.
From the high school, to the fire department, food bank, clothing bank, and church dinners, Jean is serving behind the scenes to provide for other. All this while enjoying sewing on her free time to alter prom dresses and wedding dresses for the young women of the Cove.
As our time came to a close Jean said; “Meeting new people and helping them is a good feeling. We don’t see people serving and giving of themselves often. They are too busy.” She also went on to tell me she keeps supplies of items on hand for anyone who needs them and for victims of house fires.
As I continued my drive back to the office after talking with Jean, I was reminded how important it is to serve others. I know for me I left Jean’s house with a question; “how often am I giving of myself to others and those in need.” What about you?
Jean told me she doesn’t want to elevated on a pedestal for being herself, but I’d like to hope we can all learn from her example.
When you see Jean be sure to say two simple words; thank you.
Thank you Jean Reighard for all you do to serve your community!