2019 December Volunteer of the Month: Karolyn Grimes
Meet Karolyn! RASKC is extraordinarily pleased to honor Karolyn Grimes, who has been serving delightfully since 2014. Karolyn comes in at least once a week for Cat Meet & Greet work, and she contributes many fill-in shifts to help cover other volunteers’ absences. She also helps to train new volunteers. When RASKC hosted holiday giftwrapping fundraisers at Barnes and Noble for several years, Karolyn was one of the most reliable volunteers- both staffing the table and providing transport for the materials. Karolyn also staffs RASKC’s booth at other community events. She will always have a special place in RASKC’s heart for connecting us with Seattle Meowtropolitan Café. Several years ago when the New York Times mentioned Meowtropolitan as one of many cat cafes across the country that were getting ready to open, Karolyn clipped out the article to give to RASKC chief Dr. Gene Mueller. Dr. Gene called the cat café’s owner, who had not yet established where Meowtropolitan would get their cats. The rest is history!
Q: How did you hear about RASKC?
I adopted a cat shortly after I moved here in 1998, who disappeared in 2010. So I first became aware of RASKC when I stopped at RASKC regularly on my home away from work for several months to try to find my lost cat, unfortunately to no avail.
Q: What made you want to volunteer, especially to work with animals?
I have always loved animals, especially cats. I was not allowed to have cats growing up, so getting a cat was one of the very first things I did when I was on my own. When I was working I always said I would volunteer at a shelter when I retired. So I signed up about two months after retirement. I really enjoy meeting the customers and helping them find their new BFF (best friend forever). It is always exciting when one of our older, long-time residents gets adopted.
Q: What do you do when you aren’t volunteering at RASKC?
I also volunteer at the AARP Fraud Call Center, which is rewarding in a very different way. AARP maintains two call centers, one here and one in Denver. We take calls from people all across the country who have been scammed and are seeking information on what to do. People also call us, thank goodness, to see if a recent phone call, email, etc. are legitimate. I am on the Board of Directors of our Homeowners Association, which can get interesting and/or difficult at any given time. I love music and love to attend the symphony and other music events. I have started doing research into my ancestry. It’s interesting but frustrating, because one new piece of information usually leads to more questions.
Q: What have you gained and hope to gain from your experience as a volunteer with RASKC?
When my husband passed away, my RASKC volunteering helped me maintain a routine and provided a time when I could just focus on the cats. Although I have had cats (and dogs) for many years, I have learned a great deal from talking with the ACTs and ACOs. I want to continue to learn and to meet new people.
Q: What is your life motto? Or what’s important to you?
Many years ago when my girls were young, I was working two jobs to make ends meet. I mentioned to co-workers that I was very concerned that my oldest daughter needed new sneakers and I did not see how I was going to afford them. Shortly after I received an envelope with no return address, and it contained $20 (yes, there was a time when you could buy nice sneakers for $20). I learned first hand how important even the smallest act of kindness can positively impact others. It is important to pay it forward to the extent possible. My family is the most important thing.
Q: Tell us about your pets.
At the moment I have only one cat, 13 years old, and he is always hungry. He’s a big luv-bug! He is not a lap cat but a next-to cat which is fine, because he is a big boy. I’ve had several cats. I would like to say they were non-judgmental, but I’m not too sure about that, especially if their dinner is late. They were good company (on their terms, of course). They also seems to sense if their person is having a bad day, and then provides more petting opportunities – a very soothing activity – both for pet and person.
Q: Describe a memorable moment while volunteering.
I very much enjoy working with my shift mate Victoria, and all of the staff and volunteers I meet. One memorable moment was when one customer gave me a big hug and thanked me for volunteering. Actually she hugged and thanked everybody.
Q: Fun facts?
Because we share the same name, I am sometimes mistaken for the Karolyn Grimes who was the child actor who played Zuzu Bailey in the film It’s a Wonderful Life.
During my 35 years with the FAA, one award stands out. I was nominated for and won the Mentor of the Year Award for our Region.
Q: What else would you like to say about volunteering at RASKC?
It’s the best volunteer gig!!
Interested in becoming a volunteer? We’d love to have you join us! Simply sign up for New Volunteer Orientation to learn more!