CUTLER - When U.S. presidents give a President's Volunteer Service Award to volunteers around the nation, each must have completed 4,000 hours of volunteer work.
Ruby Hall, 87, of Cutler, has given over 17,200 hours to RSVP of Washington County, said Lisa Valentine, the program's director.
"She's made four lifetimes of volunteer service in her lifetime. That's amazing!" Valentine added.
Ruby Hall, 87, of Cutler, works on her latest quilt project in her sewing room. A volunteer with over 17,200 hours given to RSVP of Washington County, Hall has donated over 250 quilts to organizations in the county in the past 10 years. (Photo by Sharon Bopp)
Hall says the first volunteering she did was when she and her late husband Richard were den parents for their three sons who were Cub Scouts.
For nine to 10 years starting in the 1950s, the Halls held Cub Scout meetings in their Marietta living room. As part of their Scouting duties, the Scouts marched in local parades.
"We practiced marching all over the neighborhood," Hall laughingly remembered.
After doing volunteer therapy with a child through Easter Seals, Hall was handed a book and recruited as the group's secretary. She was to find her true forte - fundraising - while serving with Easter Seals.
"She's an amazing fundraiser," Valentine said. "She's very organized, ...(and) people don't tell her 'no.'"
Hall's first money-raising experience was at an annual apple butter stir and sell off, where she was one of about 10 volunteers. Sensing that Hall had a bent for coming up with fundraising ideas and getting the job done, Easter Seals recruited her again.
"Every time I turned around I got handed a 'book,'" Hall quipped.
In 1962 or 1963, Hall and her family moved to a Cutler farm. She remains in that area today.
Soon she was volunteering as a health representative with the Washington County Extension Office and became involved with the Washington County Farm Bureau.
"I always liked to help people out or I wouldn't have made time to do (volunteering)," said Hall.
"I was doing it for free so why not do something worthwhile?" she added.
As a member of the farm bureau's women's committee, Hall helped with membership drives, the Washington County Fair and more.
During one county fair in the 1970s, Hall was in charge of picking up homemade pies from four churches that were to be used to raise funds for the farm bureau.
During the four days of the fair, a total of 160 donated pies were needed - or 40 pies per day.
"The first day there were 40 pies. The second day there were only 20 of the 40 pies I needed," Hall said.
The last day of the fair, no pies were made by the church members.
"Somebody's got to make those pies!" Hall thought worriedly.
That somebody was Hall, who made 40 pies that evening in just nine hours.
Quilting became a passion of Hall's after her retirement in 1987, she said. Most of her quilts are donated for raffles and other area fundraisers. In the last 10 years, Hall said she has stitched and donated over 250 quilts. Each quilt takes her about a month to complete.
"I can make something for this (group) and they can make a little money out of it and it keeps me busy," said Hall.
Hall's quilts have helped raise funds for the fire departments in Bartlett and Barlow, The Ely Chapman Educational Foundation, RSVP, Harmar Bridge Association, Marietta Memorial Hospital and those whose homes have been destroyed by fire.
Valentine did the math on how much Hall has helped organizations raise with her 250-plus quilts.
"You multiply that by $400 or $500 per quilt, and that's a lot of money," she said.
After 32 years with RSVP, Hall recently "retired" from the group's advisory council. Council members have proclaimed her an honorary lifetime advisory council member.
"I'm sure we're going to miss her at the meetings," said Evelyn Worstell, RSVP Advisory Council member. "She always has some very good suggestions on fundraising."
But Hall isn't ready to throw in her fundraising towel just yet.
On Dec. 1, the O'Neill Center in Marietta will host its annual Christmas craft show. RSVP makes and sells chicken and noodles at the event as a fundraiser. Although Hall has taught Worstell and another RSVP member how to make the dish, Hall admitted "I might go in (to RSVP) that day."