Thursday, July 3, 2014

Client Profile: Mary Shadrick

Volunteer Transportation Client Tackles Hard Issues

Mary Shadrick, a Volunteer Transportation client for 21 years, never does anything halfheartedly.  Whether recreationally, politically, or professionally, Mary is never on the sidelines.  

Recently, the 86-year-old accumulated more activity points than anyone else in her Renton assisted living community.  With her regular participation in activities like Bid Whist, Bingo, Bunko, Rummikub, and exercise classes, Mary earned an impressive $30,000 of “money.”  This allowed her to purchase two watches and two necklaces at the facility’s auction.  These rewards illustrate her go-getter attitude and willingness to try new things. 

Active involvement is nothing new for Mary.  She was a dedicated participant at the Southeast Seattle Senior Center and became a lifetime member of the Central Area Senior Center after volunteering at its front desk for seven years.   The Bid Whist group that she started at the Central Area Senior Center continues to thrive.  She worked as a microbiology transcriber for the California Department of Health Services at UC Berkeley and served as a clerk for Judge W.J. Wilkins, renowned for his involvement in convicting leading Nazis in the Nuremberg trials.  

Even in difficult circumstances, Mary doesn’t hold back.  “I’ve always had to tackle the hard issues,” she says.  She became involved in local politics under the guidance of Sam J. Smith, a prominent black politician and civil rights activist.  She was the first and only African American in her role as clerk for Judge Wilkins, as well as the only African American in the microbiology department at Berkeley.   She speaks openly of the tokenism she encountered in these times and the prejudice she has experienced in more recent years.  “People don’t change overnight,” she explains.

But Mary doesn’t let these incidents get her down. She believes that she gets her strength from her mother, who was a strong role model for her seven children.  Mary also acknowledges the important role that her daughter plays in her life.   Her daughter gives her lots of important information to help her remain healthy, active, and well-informed.

Volunteer Transportation has been yet another source of support for Mary.   She hasn’t let challenges like giving up her car or moving to a new area prevent her from seeing her long-term Seattle doctors.  She often spreads the word about the program to other seniors who may need it and tells them, “It’s very reliable.  I’ve had good luck with the volunteer drivers; they are nice people.”   She can speak with conviction from her 21 years’ worth of experiences with the program.

It is clear that Mary Shadrick is fully empowered, ready to conquer any obstacle that gets in her way.

**Like Mary, you can jump right in to new and worthwhile activity: become a volunteer driver today! Drivers are needed throughout King County. Contact Hilary at or (206)748-7588 to find out more.  


About Me

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“Behind the Wheel” offers stories, reflections, news and updates about Sound Generations’ (formerly Senior Services') Transportation Program. Throughout King County, our inspiring volunteers provide needed mobility to local seniors, supporting them in their efforts to remain independent, healthy, and happy. Please drop by to read more about the unique experiences of our volunteers, clients and staff!
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