“There are a few rules I try to live by. One is that you should always treat others the way you want to be treated. The Lord tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves. So who is my neighbor? It could be anybody. If I see someone in need, I’m going to do whatever I can to help that person. It’s just who I am.” – Miss Maple
At the age of 76, there are no signs Miss Maple is slowing down. In fact, she’s just getting started. Her first experience volunteering at Nashville Rescue Mission was in 2010, and over the past six years, she has been spending every Tuesday she can at the Mission serving those in need.
“It started with a group of friends from my church,” said Miss Maple. “We signed up to volunteer and as they say… the rest is history. I’ve met some of the nicest people while volunteering at the Mission. We’ve become quite friendly and will take time out to ask about each other’s health and family.”
Miss Maple spent 36 years of her life in service to the poor and needy as a nurse and nurse practitioner at Matthew Walker Clinic. She might have retired, but she wasn’t ready to rest just yet. “It’s always been important to me to help people who really need it,” said Miss Maple, “There are many more people in need and there are still things I can do to help.”
A proud graduate of the Seventh-day Adventist School of Nursing at Riverside Hospital, Miss Maple has overcome her fair share of battles. While she has never faced homelessness, she has survived breast cancer. Her experience gave her a new perspective on what it means to need care and compassion—something she’d spent her whole life giving to others—and intended to keep on doing.
“I can’t say I knew a whole lot about the Mission before volunteering,” said Miss Maple. “I do remember receiving mailings around the holidays and I would give, but I had never been there. There were occasions when I would hear about the Mission from a patient at our clinic, but outside of that, my experience was very limited.”
But after that first time volunteering, Miss Maple was hooked. “I look forward to Tuesdays. Going to the Mission each week centers me. I’ve made friends. I’ve developed a sense of community that extends beyond my church. I’m glad I can still help people.”
“When you hear the name Miss Maple, there are lots of words that come to mind, such as committed, faithful, loyal, and dependable,” said Joy Plank, director of volunteer services at the Mission. “She treats her role as a volunteer as someone would treat a full-time job… if she’s not going to be here, she will call to let someone know. She brings such joy to those around her when she’s here serving, she knows when she’s not here she is missed. We are thankful for Miss Maple and so many others who give of their time and talents to serve those in need.”
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