By Bobby Pepper/Lee County Neighbors
The thought of slowing down actually crossed the mind of Anne Radojcsics.
Radojcsics, a Lee County resident since 1967, describes herself as a “go-getter” type of volunteer. She gives her time, endless energy and enthusiastic personality to the Lee County Library, her church and many other community-related activities.
After turning 80 in March, Radojcsics wondered if it was time to scale back her schedule.
“I keep thinking I probably need to slow down, but I’m having so much fun,” she said. “And what I’m doing is important, isn’t it?”
Radojcsics’ jovial smiles and commitment to serve others are important to those with whom she volunteers.
“She’s incredible,” said Jan Willis, director of the Lee County Library. “She literally throws herself into it 100 percent and is devoted to it.”
Love for libraries
Radojcsics is passionate about libraries. It began in Mansfield, Ohio, where she lived and was involved in the library there until she moved to Mississippi when her husband Joe was transferred to work for Penn Tire and Rubber. Joe and Anne will celebrate their 59th wedding anniversary in July.
Living in the Carr Vista neighborhood on the southern edge of Verona, Radojcsics soon began working for Verona School as librarian. She was at Verona 22 years, three more years at Tupelo’s Pierce Street Elementary and then four years at Tupelo Christian Preparatory School.
“I finally quit at 70,” she said. “I missed education, but instead of being involved in education I began to get involved again in libraries…. I love libraries.
“Books are great,” adds Radojcsics. “It’s so important that we teach our kids first of all how to read, then instill the love of reading.”
Radojcsics’ many duties include serving as secretary of Friends of the Lee County Library, a group of residents and donors who support the library. She organizes the volunteer worker list for the Friends’ gift shop on the first floor.
When the Friends hosts its monthly Lunching With Books reviews upstairs, Radojcsics is selling sandwiches at the door. She also helps the library with the mending and repair of books.
Willis also said Radojcsics’ input as a former school librarian is helpful when he orders childrens’ books.
“Not only is Anne a tireless volunteer here, but she completely understands what libraries are about,” Willis said. “Anne will do pretty much anything you ask her to do. If you need a volunteer for a special library need, Anne is the first one to say, ‘I’ll help with that’.”
Radojcsics is always good for a smile and a laugh for the library patrons and employees. Taking a break from the gift shop, Radojcsics took time to lead a visitor to the book storage room. On her way back, she noticed Barbara Carouthers, the library’s bookmobile librarian, sitting at her cubicle.
“There’s the book truck lady. Isn’t she cute,” Radojcsics said, breaking into a cackling laugh.
Carouthers couldn’t help but laugh out loud and smile at Radojcsics’ compliment.
“She’s a mess,” Carouthers said.
Church and the community
In addition to the Lee County Library, Radojcsics devotes herself to other board and secretarial roles:
– She maintains the two libraries at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, which is across Jefferson Street from the Lee County Library. In addition to her roles as church librarian and historian, she posts newspaper clippings featuring members on a church bulletin board. “I keep up with all of that, plus I get volunteers to help fold bulletins and stuff like that,” she said.
– She’s the secretary and 30-year board member of SAFE Inc., a shelter for domestic abuse victims. In May, SAFE honored her by naming the transitional housing small house “Anne’s House” to honor her service to the organization.
– She assists with Meals on Wheels in Verona, picking up lunches at Ms. Ruth’s Diner and delivering them to the elderly and shut-ins in town. “That’s fun,” she said. “The people are so sweet. I go into one woman’s home. She’s 96 years old. I go ‘Hootie hoo,’ real loud, and she comes around the corner, just a smiling.”
– She’s the membership vice president of the Friends of Mississippi Libraries board. Her duties include collecting yearly dues, turning the dues information to the IRS and participating in the Mississippi Library Association convention.
– She’s the secretary of the Carr Vista neighborhood association and organized the subdivision’s Independence Day parade.
With a busy schedule like this, who has time to slow down or even think about slowing down?
“I need to slow down, but I don’t know how,” Radojcsics said. “I enjoy what I’m doing.”
Bobby Pepper is editor of Lee County Neighbors. Contact him at (662) 678-1592 or at firstname.lastname@example.org