By Madeline McIntyre
Betty Jo Readling started volunteering at the ReStore in the same way many others start: a friend asked. And we are fortunate enough that Betty Jo said yes. For ten years now, she has been a true leader among the volunteers, assisting in trainings and helping with anything and everything. “I love working that front desk right there, and getting to greet people, and going out on the floor, you know, just whatever anybody needs,” Betty Jo said.
Before her retirement, Betty Jo worked the front desk at Asheville Pediatrics. This experience made her well-equipped to work the ReStore register. We soon realized her talents and recruited her as the Volunteer Manager. “I’ve trained everybody who has worked with me and some others too,” Betty Jo said. Her favorite part of volunteer training is seeing the growth in others. “Just seeing how quickly some people can pick it up or how you have to maybe help some a little bit more,” she said.
And Betty Jo truly loves to help out. She spent some time during her last shift making sure an elderly couple would be able to back into the loading dock and load their purchases into their car. “That’s a big thing – just helping other people. And I get to see all of that,” Betty Jo said.
Her commitment to others makes her a favorite among the volunteers. “I adore her,” a fellow Wednesday volunteer, Debbie Rogers said. “She’s just a wonderful person.” Other volunteers feel the same way, making sure Betty Jo has a ride to Habitat events, helping her celebrate birthdays, and going out for the occasional lunch date. “There are three of us who meet every so often and go out to lunch,” Betty Jo said. “We just have a good time.”
These friendships are simply another part of the many reasons why Betty Jo has continued her service to Habitat for Humanity for so many years. “It is a nice way to make friends,” she said. “And the interaction that we have with customers, with staff, with volunteers. It’s just all good.”
Betty Jo plans on continuing to volunteer with Habitat for as long as she can, showing her dedication to our mission and values. And even though she has seen the ReStore change over the years, from system overhauls to building overhauls, she cannot imagine being anywhere else.
“It is just a great place. I love being here, and I’ll stay as long as I can,” Betty Jo said. “That pretty much sums it up.”
We are grateful to that friend who first asked her to volunteer, and so appreciate of all the volunteer service hours that Betty Jo has provided to Asheville Area Habitat over the past decade. Thank you, Betty Jo!
Photo: Betty Jo is pictured Left with fellow volunteers in 2006 (L) and 2016 (R).