Why you want to know Mary Ann Sladek: Mary Ann spends most of her time volunteering in the community and for the church. After 10 years at Baxter Regional Medical Center she has accumulated about 6,000 volunteer hours and serves on the HOPE (Hospitality, Orientation, Placement and Encouragement) committee. She continues her adoration hour that she started with her husband about 10 years ago every Friday night and quilts for the church. She helps with two blood drives a year, at St. Peter’s and the hospital, and is the special events chairman and the community service chairwoman at the local American Legion Auxiliary, where she has served in the past as president. She has been an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist for more than 20 years.
Parish: St. Peter the Fisherman Church
City: Mountain Home
Family: One daughter, Roberta Currier; five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Her husband Robert died four months after their 60th wedding anniversary in 2011. Daughter Dianne Klancir died in 2007.
Arkansas Catholic’s theme this year is “Worth it.” What investments of time or money have you made recently to enrich your faith?
I spend a lot of time doing things for other people. I’m a member of the CCW (Council of Catholic Women) and I’m a Eucharistic minister. I’m on the Cookie Walk committee, we’ve been doing that about 10 years. … I’m up to my ears in baking. It’s the first Saturday in December and I make 115 loaves of nut bread, 10 different kinds. About 50 percent goes to the church and the other to my family. The money for that goes to the St. Vincent de Paul Society and we usually raise about $3,500.
Why do you volunteer so much time at Baxter Regional Medical Center?
I feel that I’m very fortunate to be in a position to help others instead of needing help myself. I’m scheduled to work four hours a week, but some weeks I’m there every day and I’m never there less than two days a week. For one thing I worked in the business office in a hospital up north (in Illinois), I was an outpatient clerk. I was right outside the emergency room and it’s kind of funny because that’s mostly where I am right now. My daughters became RNs and one of my granddaughters is an RN.
How does participating in these activities strengthen your faith?
It helps me to see the good in others and to help others; it keeps me from being home alone. My husband volunteered up until two weeks before he passed away … He’d answer the phone (at the hospital) and let people know when the doctor was ready to talk to them. I’d take him in his wheelchair ... He was very devoted and enjoyed it a lot.
How do you use your faith to get through the deaths of your husband and daughter?
I do a lot of praying. I spend an hour every morning and an hour every night praying. I say prayers wherever I am. I pray for them, for our family and our country that I worry about. I pray to St. Joseph a lot … I know he’s answered a lot of prayers.
What are your hobbies?
I do some sewing and I do a lot of knitting. I knit fingerless gloves for the guys in Afghanistan through the American Legion. I make caps for the babies in the hospital. We knit caps and gloves for the kids in the school … we have 160 sets they give out (to those less fortunate) … I’m knitting all the time.
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