By Janet Wetzel
Mercedes Hance gets up smiling, and goes to bed smiling. And during her waking hours, she shares her happiness by helping other people.
The Milford widow, called Metchy by friends, serves as a Eucharistic minister for St. Andrews Catholic Church. Hance visits about 40 elderly, sick and shut-ins every week to talk, give communion, or have service. She often drives them and others to the doctor or grocery, and helps with a variety of other needs.
Mercedes Hance (right) speaks with Mary Sabbadini (left) and Betty Snmith prior to a rosary service and communion at the Tabaleen Cove retirement Home in Milford.
(Michael Snyder photo)
Hance also volunteers for the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Cincinnati Symphony Club, and pursues hobbies of sewing and walking four miles a day.
"She's always on the go helping others. I don't know where she gets all her energy,'' said Sue Burroughs, St. Andrews secretary. "There's no limit to what she'll do to help others, especially her senior citizens. Sometimes people will call her with needs before they call the parish. I couldn't do my job without her.''
Hance began volunteering in 1988 when Sister Mary Ellen Cahall asked Hance to become a Eucharistic minister.
At the time, Hance worked fulltime in her husband's veterinarian office, and was on the Milford Planning Commission, a job she held until resigning in 2003.
"I was afraid I would be too busy, and that I'd do the wrong thing,'' she said. "But she said she'd train me and I decided to give it a try. I'm so glad I did.''
Hance spends at least four hours on Wednesday, seven on Friday, then all afternoon Sunday visiting seniors. When one is very ill, she calls her priest, Father Rob Waller, "who also prays for me so I stay healthy and able to keep helping.''
Do you know a Hometown Hero - someone in your community dedicated to making it a better place to live and helping others? E-mail Janet Wetzel at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 513-755-4150.
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