Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — When Shirley Washburn was 10 years old, she started going to the Salvation Army with her Aunt Frances and her cousins.
Today, more than 50 years later, Washburn is still a familiar face at the Army, where she is a member of the worship group, the women’s ministry group and is a tireless volunteer.
Next month, Washburn will be honored at the Salvation Army’s annual Civic Dinner with the group’s Others Award, the highest honor given to a community member who exemplifies the Army’s commitment to helping others.
“I’ve been volunteering for a long time. I started out with the Army back when it was on Locust Street, near my aunt’s house, and I watched them put up this building in 1967,” Washburn said.
Although she’s always willing to pitch in wherever she’s needed, these days, Washburn is best known for driving people where they need to go.
“I take people to doctor’s appointments, to the grocery store, to church and meetings. I don’t like to see anyone go without. I just like to help people,” Washburn said.
Major Martha Wheeler said Washburn is always ready to lend a hand.
“Shirley is one of the few diehards left. She’s willing to do anything we ask her to do. If anyone needs anything, I know I can count on her. Nothing stops Shirley,” Wheeler said.
Washburn recalls a cold, winter day when she and her granddaughter Karaline were driving down Shimer Drive and they saw a woman walking and looking distressed. Shirley stopped and asked her if she could help. Ultimately she gave the woman, whose car had broken down, a ride home.
“She was going to have to walk all the way to Niagara Street in the cold. After we dropped her off, my granddaughter said, ‘We did a good deed today,’ and I was so happy,” Washburn said.