CONCHE, NL — Through her decades upon decades of volunteer work, Rose Casey has only one wish – that she could do it all over again.
Casey has devoted herself to a variety of annual activities, events and projects in Conche since she was in her twenties.
The 92-year-old had to give up her volunteer and committee involvement within the last two years due to physical ailments in her legs and feet. But if it wasn’t for that, she’d still be as involved as ever before.
“I enjoyed every bit of it, I didn’t care what I had to do,” said Casey. “To tell you the truth I don’t feel sick or anything; I wish I could still be active and taking part in all of it.”
Alice Flynn has worked with Casey on several committees and efforts through the years. Flynn says the community’s other volunteers dearly miss Casey.
“Last year we had to come pick her and bring her down because we missed her that much,” Flynn said of last year’s garden party in Conche.
Laughter, fun and tireless work
Casey was a town councillor in the ‘70s and remained on various committees throughout the years, including the White Bay Central Development Association.
Casey also worked at the fish plant when the cod fishery collapsed in 1992. At the time she was 65, and when the plant re-opened to process whelk she returned in hopes of getting back on the job.
“They figured I was going to retire, but I asked to get back to work as soon as the plant reopened,” Casey said.
Casey carried this same devoted work ethic into her volunteer efforts.
As part of a come home year planned in ’93, Casey helped bring together a work project to repaint and renovate the parish hall of Conche’s Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
With this hall revitalized, the parish committee hosts an annual garden and kitchen party to this day. Casey was an organizer and the certified gravy maker for this event each year.
“Those weekends for the garden party we don’t ever stop, get one hour of rest Saturday and get going again,” said Flynn. “We’d be walking around like zombies sometimes - we were that beat.”
Flynn and Casey both reminisced that the amount of laughter and fun the pair have shared through their various volunteer efforts is beyond compare. They say it made the exhaustion of organizing these events all worthwhile.
“I loved the committees that I worked on; everyone was good to one another and cooperative,” said Casey. “We had a scrap every once in a while but there was nothing to it.”
Casey is also locally known for her acting chops. At certain recurring events like come home years, Casey and Gary Carroll of Conche would put on a variety of humorous plays and sketches.
“There was some amount of laughing done at her and Gary I tell you,” Flynn said.
While now she cannot be as involved as she’d like, Casey still routinely goes to bingo and mass. As well, Casey’s fellow committee members still bring her out to parties and events when she’s up for it.
With many memories and efforts in her mind, Casey wanted to express her gratitude to the many people around town that have been helpful with committees and organizing.
No matter what obstacles have come her way, Casey’s drive to provide and support her community is something that can never be taken from her.
“I don’t regret it; I wish I could do it all again,” said Casey.
The Northern Pen’s recurring feature looks at the lives of seniors along the Northern Peninsula and southern Labrador. If you know a local senior with an interesting story to tell, email or call the Northern Pen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 454-2191.