Long-time OCCK worker made mark on Salina
Nov 09, 2012 (The Salina Journal - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Anderson, 64, was marketing director at OCCK, a nonprofit agency that helps persons with mental and physical disabilities, for 35 years until her retirement. She then began a second career of volunteering in various capacities around Salina, a role she filled up until her death.
"In her retirement, she became even more of a community volunteer than she had been before," said Andy Martin, executive director of the Salina Area United Way, where Anderson provided her services in various capacities.
"Whether it was people with disabilities or people that didn't have transportation or people that were marginalized, she was there helping move large boulders and barriers to give those people a better life," he said.
Steve Gieber was director of business development for OCCK and was a colleague of Anderson's for many years.
"I can't say enough good things about her," Gieber said, "How many projects she would select and dealt with to make sure everything came out right. It was her nature to be there to help people out with whatever was needed."
Anderson and Morea Charvat were "late-night computer buddies," in Charvat's words.
That came in handy as both were on the board of the Salina Regional Health Center's Auxiliary -- Charvat as president and Anderson as president-elect.
"She would stay up until 2, 3 in the morning, and I would, too," Charvat said. "I could email her with auxiliary business at 1, 1:30, 2, and she would respond."
Besides her nocturnal nature, Charvat was particularly impressed with Anderson's communication skills.
"She had a way with words, knew how to say things," said Charvat, who would often run correspondence by Anderson for review. "I always looked to her as my voice of reason."
Fellow auxiliary board member Paula Haworth also praised Anderson for her devotion.
"She was always willing to give a helping hand," Haworth said. "She was gracious about everything."
Anderson lately suffered from medical issues but didn't want to let her health interfere with her volunteer duties.
Haworth was concerned when Anderson became an auxiliary officer and asked her if she felt up to the task.
" 'I still want to try to do it.' That's the type of person she was. Very dedicated," Haworth said.
Martin saw that quality, as well, saying some people are lucky to find a calling where their contributions truly can make a difference.
"She was in the right place at the right time," he said, adding that she was cool under pressure. "She was very steady and consistent and was able to work in the crunch, at the last minute, to pull it all together."
Haworth offered a succinct summation: "She left a mark."
--Gordon D. Fiedler Jr. can be reached at 822-1407 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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