Spokane volunteer serves 13,000 hours

Retiree honored for her service to others.

by Shoshannah Ruwethin, Captain –

(L-R) Lt. Donna Gregg, Carly Barrett and Major Lani Chamness

Carley Barrett—an unlimited source of hugs, smiles, encouragement, and strength—has volunteered in Spokane, Washington for about 22 years, with approximately 13,200 volunteer hours to her name. At 85-years-old, she plans to give more years of service, because she lives to serve others.

A few months ago, Carley was recognized at the Annual Veterans Memorial Volunteer Luncheon for having served over 10,000 hours in the name of The Salvation Army—one of just two individuals awarded this honor.

It all started 22 years ago, when a friend asked Carley to help serve hot dogs to the patients at the Veterans Hospital. She was instantly hooked on loving the people and serving them. Deciding to stay involved, Carley and her late husband Bob soon began volunteering at the hospital in the name of The Salvation Army.

The couple began passing out the War Cry to hospital staff and patients. Carley now delivers over 125 magazines twice a month, and the staff eagerly anticipates both the magazine and a hug from Carley.

When she first began volunteering, she had recently retired and wanted to give more time. Carley asked if she could do any type of sewing for the hospital. Yes—they had a need for exactly that. The staff uniforms needed upkeep and mending.

Six years later, while driving through town, she noticed that a Snyder’s Outlet store constantly had cardboard in its trash bins; she suggested they recycle. The store agreed to a trial run and now, nearly 15 years later, the recycling partnership continues. Carley drives to two Snyder’s stores, loads cardboard and takes it to the Veterans Hospital for recycling.

Carley is an inspiration to those who know her, as she demonstrates that even with an aging body, a person can make an impact by serving others. Although her partner in life and in service, Bob, passed away in December 2005, she has continued to volunteer.

Carley gives her time to the Veterans Hospital, but not in her name. She volunteers on behalf of The Salvation Army. That is the heart of a servant. Now reunited with her daughter after many years, she is passing on her legacy of living for others. Her daughter, Cary, now accompanies Carley to deliver War Crys.

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