Every week, Arlene Hansey (at right) volunteers with her wife, Judy, at the Ocean Shores Senior Center in Ocean Shores, Washington. The couple helps pack food and gets it ready to be distributed to the community. In the summer, they prepare boxes of summer snacks for kids. Comfortably retired after spending years in the medical field, Arlene never takes for granted having enough to eat, because years ago – she needed a little extra help, too.
“Back in 1984, I had four little kids and didn’t have any support from my husband, who had moved to Florida,” she said. “I was working at a newspaper selling ads and making $100 a month. That went to the mortgage and to the kids. We did struggle, but we made it through it.”
Arlene did more than make it through. She triumphed. She saved enough money and went back to school. Soon after, she began a career in the medical field, and she hasn’t looked back since – retiring as a cardiac tech nine years ago.
With Arlene through much of her journey has been Judy.
“We met online, but this was back in the AOL, dial-up days,” Arlene laughs. “And Judy said she had a bike and wanted to go riding in the mountains, and I said, ‘Oh, that sounds fun, I’d like to ride my bike too.’ And so we met and she showed up and she had a motorcycle and I had my bicycle. And she said, ‘What do you think? I’d want to ride my bike in the mountains?’”
While they don’t do as much motorcycle riding these days, the couple spends their spare time volunteering at the food pantry and making as many memories as possible – because they’re not taking anything for granted.
“I struggled, but I don’t struggle anymore,” Arlene said. “We volunteer together. It’s something worthwhile to do and to help our community.”