Blair Garrett

Donations come in all shapes and sizes. Giving back can be a chore for some. For others, donating clothing, food, or money can be a tremendous resource for those in need.

For Emmitsburg resident Elaine Schmidt (pictuted above), donating her time is what keeps her going. For the past 18 years, Schmidt has been dedicating countless hours to helping to make the community a better place by helping her local church and residents at St. Joseph’s.  

“I got here in November of 2001, and by December, I was volunteering,” Schmidt said. “I started out feeding residents. Now, I work in the beauty parlor, and I always took residents out on doctor appointments.”

Schmidt had a setback from a medical procedure last August, which prevented her from shuttling patients to their appointments, but it was something she excelled at during her time in Emmitsburg, and it’s something she plans to get back to in the near future. “I enjoyed that, so I will start to do that again, but I’m trying soon,” she said.

At 90, Schmidt has been a near lifelong caregiver. She has four children and has worked various jobs, where she was the glue, filling the needs of her employers, so her dedication to the church is nothing new. Her continued support of the church and the community has garnered more recognition than Schmidt would like or was used to, but her contributions were too great to be ignored.

“Last year, Father Marty came to me and read this letter and said that I would be made an affiliate of the Vincentian Family, which was quite an honor,” Schmidt said.” “I would like to really thank him because I know he did quite a lot on my behalf.”

In fact, not only did Father Marty write and acknowledge the efforts of Schmidt over the past two decades, priests and sisters across Northern Frederick County added their thoughts on how valuable Schmidt has been to the church.

Priests came from as far as Philadelphia to recognize Schmidt as a member of the Vincentian Family with a plaque on April 27 at St. Joseph’s Church. “It was a beautiful day,” recalled Schmidt. “It really was a day I won’t forget.”

Schmidt’s volunteer work started long before her arrival in Emmitsburg. A native of Baltimore, Schmidt found her love of volunteering to go along with her career while helping out at the VA Medical Center in Baltimore. “I fed patients on the surgical floor, and I worked for the priests there in the psychiatric ward,” Schmidt said.

Her move to Emmitsburg was a new journey, though, and a challenging one at first. “When I first moved to Emmitsburg, I didn’t know a soul.” But she found her home in a small town, and quickly became a shining star among the community through her greatest passion: volunteering.

Today, Schmidt continues to offer help to the people who need it most. She also enjoys gardening and crocheting blankets and hats for local hospitals. Her work with the church is often thought of as a humbling and quiet life, but her outgoing personality and undying generosity is anything but.  

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