Sunday Profile: At 92, Valley View volunteer raises thousands of dollars
Post Independent Contributor
Hardly a soul in town can say no to Maudie Weller.
“People tell me I’m persistent,” she said in a recent interview during one of her Monday afternoon volunteer shifts at Valley View Hospital. “I guess that’s true,” she added, “but I also know a lot of very generous people around here.”
Weller has served with the hospital for the past 37 years, and she consistently raises more money during the VVH Auxiliary’s annual quilt raffle than any other volunteer.
“This year I sold 7,823 raffle tickets,” Weller said.
(Note: the entire population of Glenwood Springs is somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 individuals.)
“Well, I will admit that some people buy multiple tickets. And I also sell to tourists,” she said with a grin. The tactic is a savvy one.
“Sometimes they’ll hand me $20 right there on the spot,” Weller reported. “The tourists usually purchase quite a few tickets.”
This year Weller’s sales of several thousand dollars went directly to the Auxiliary’s scholarship fund, which helps students pursuing health sciences degrees. Additional proceeds were directed to the hospital’s public Delaney Medical Library.
Many in the community will surely recognize Weller from her annual ticket-selling missions during the autumn months. In years past she covered nearly every neighborhood in town on foot, sporting her trusty fanny pack filled with raffle tickets. Unafraid of popping into local businesses or approaching complete strangers on the street, Weller has perfected her sales pitch over the course of many years — and few people have been able to resist parting with a couple dollars when she comes to call.
“Maudie doesn’t simply ask how many raffle tickets you’d like to buy — she asks how many books of 10 tickets you’d like to buy,” said auxiliary President Sharon Anderson.
Since her first raffle 23 years ago, it is estimated that Weller has single-handedly raised between $150,000-$200,000. She averages $6,000-$10,000 annually.
Nowadays, at 92 years old, the petite and spunky Weller sticks to selling her tickets in the halls and offices of Valley View.
“She takes more steps per day than anyone I know,” said Kati Ledall, volunteer coordinator at VVH. “Maudie is just so amazingly dedicated. I can only imagine if I had 100 Maudies on my team.”
Ledall manages a crew of some 125 active hospital volunteers who staff 26 different positions throughout the facility. These include posts in the gift shop, surgery department, various offices, and the lobby, where Weller holds her position at the information desk on Mondays from noon to 2 p.m.
“I just started working at Valley View about six months ago,” Ledall noted, “and even during my interview I was told about the incredible volunteers here. When I met Maudie I really saw what they meant. She puts her heart into everything she does.”
Born and raised in small-town Illinois, Weller moved to Germany after World War II as an adventurous twenty-something. She worked for the U.S. government as a secretary under the consul general in Munich for several years before meeting her husband.
The couple married and relocated to Colorado in 1953, spending time in both Denver and Alamosa while they raised their two children. In the late 1970s, Weller and her husband settled in Glenwood Springs.
“I actually worked part-time for the hospital when we first moved here,” Weller recalled. “Then I started volunteering here when a friend of mine encouraged me to. It was a great way to get to know new people. I enjoyed it so much that I just kept coming back — and now here I am 37 years later.”
Weller can now rely on the countless connections she has made in the community during her many years of service with Valley View.
“Maudie’s gift of persuasion, high energy, and connections across the valley has made a huge impact on the success of the Auxiliary fundraising event,” said Patricia Faler, VVH director of marketing and public relations. “Over the years she has developed many relationships with people who have bought raffle tickets, and makes calls each year to remind them to buy.”
Now that the 2015 raffle season is over, Weller has scaled back her volunteer hours from several per week to two. In the springtime, she will shift focus to raising funds for her other volunteer position with the Glenwood Springs Community Concert Association. Until then, she plans on enjoying her myriad hobbies such as reading, hiking, attending concerts, and snowshoeing occasionally.
“Plus I used to go skiing until I was about 83 years old,” Weller said. “I don’t ski any longer but I love to be outdoors when I can.”
Her presence at the hospital, and in the community, is cherished by many. As her shift in the hospital lobby came to a close this past Monday, a passerby called to her: “If you can’t already tell, we all love you, Maudie.”
Weller has many such fans. Does all the love, success and recognition make her feel like a bit of a local celebrity?
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Weller giggled. “I don’t think I would call myself famous. I just enjoy doing what I do, and the people I work with. It’s pretty simple.”
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Fire investigators are still working on determining the cause of Tuesday’s house fire in Glenwood Springs, which left no one injured but caused extensive damage.