Fan of Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things
It’s just the right thing to do…
Whether it’s growing the minds of Dent County’s children, or watering her garden, Bonnie Gray seems to spread her bountiful love wherever she goes. Although retired, Gray stays active serving her community with a heartfelt focus on improving the lives of children and supporting the local institutions which serve them.
“Children are our future,” Gray says. “I think it’s important we make sure they have the best opportunities to get an education and stay healthy.”
Every Tuesday, Gray can be found at the Salem United Methodist Church helping to prepare hundreds of meals sent to young underprivileged students by the Love Packs Program.
“I’ve been with the Love Packs since the beginning,” Gray says. “When my friend Jann Gray first told me about the idea, I knew it was important, and wanted to be involved in the effort as much as possible. I try to help make the packs every week, and deliver them too.”
Come Friday, Gray will be at the Salem Upper Elementary School working within its offices to make scores of photocopies of worksheets and assignments for many of its teachers.
“The teachers say it saves them a lot of time, and that they are able to leave school a little earlier on Friday,” Gray says. “I think by the end of the week the teachers have earned it, they deserve to have their weekend break start a little sooner if it means me volunteering some time.”
Gray also says it fills her with pride to know her daughter, Melonie Wisdom, is today the principal of the school.
“We were so excited when we heard she would be coming home,” Gray says. “I am so proud of her, I know she’s earned it with a lot of hard work and leadership.”
Every month, Gray also goes to the Salem Public Library to read to children.
“It helps to be dramatic,” Gray says of the readings. “I love the sound of their laughs, and to hear all the stories they tell. I’m lucky that I have a whole shelf of children’s books to pick from which I keep for my granddaughter.”
Gray even finds the time to help govern over the Bonebrake Center as a member of its board of directors, saying she believes in its mission to provide a safe place for children to learn more about the history and environment in which they live.
“People tell me I do so much, but I never thought of it as a chore,” Gray says. “I love children. I loved every moment of being a kindergarten aid, and I love volunteering to make life easier for them. Some people like to joke with me and ask if I feel like the queen of the volunteers, I just think they don’t understand what all this means to me, and how important service has been for my life.”
Ever humble, Gray takes in the events of the world from her pastoral home outside of Salem where she passes the time tending to her beautiful home and taking care of her vast gardens. Gray says she’s not certain what the future holds, but she will keep volunteering her time to the service of our community’s youngest generation.
“It’s just the right thing to do,” Gray concludes.