Centerville woman’s volunteer efforts ‘best thing’ she could think of doing

For Shirley Oglesbee, kindness is something that needs to be done.

That’s why the 87-year-old Centerville resident has been volunteering with Hannah’s Treasure Chest since 2011 after a four-decade career in retail.

Hannah’s Treasure Chest is dedicated to “enriching the lives of children in need by providing care packages of clothes, shoes, books, safety equipment and hygiene items, including diapers, through a network of more than 70 partners throughout Southwest Ohio.”

Oglesbee, who had previously helped with similar work for the city of Centerville, said HTC’s mission resonated with her because she wanted “just to be able to help other people and especially children that are probably down and out.”

“They need clothing and toys and books and I knew that’s what Hannah’s did, so I was just so interested in helping them out,” she said. “I just need something to do and I think that’s the best thing I could think of doing.”

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Oglesbee was one of five southwest Ohio older adults honored Sept. 22 by Medical Mutual for their dedicated service to others at the 2022 Outstanding Senior Volunteer Awards at the Montgomery Inn Boathouse.

“Beyond the typical hours she spends at Hannah’s Treasure Chest every month, Shirley goes out of her way to ensure the organization’s shelves are always full and that items are in good condition, even if this means providing it out of her own pocket,” Medical Mutual officials said.

Helping out, for Oglesbee, has meant going to the non-profit four days a week to work the incoming area to sort out clothing, looking for rips, tears and dirt.

“If it’s good for us, we put it on our shelves, and if it’s not good enough for our people, we send it to Matthew 25: Ministries in Cincinnati,” she said.

Oglesbee said she sometimes spends her own money because some sizes of clothing are either low in inventory or not in stock at all, like different sizes of boys pants.

“Last year, we just couldn’t keep them on hand,” she said. “So I went out to Goodwill and ... I bought some pants and put them on the shelf and they went out. No big deal. Glad to do that.”

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Oglesbee even volunteered last year at the height of the pandemic, helping Hannah’s Treasure Chest create nearly 4,000 care packages for families displaced from their homes and in a moment of need, according to Christine Taylor, Medical Mutual’s director of community affairs.

Oglesbee’s daughter, Libby Turpin, submitted her name and information for the award.

“Libby calls her mom a shining example of service for her robust family of kids, grandkids, great-grandkids,” Taylor said during the award ceremony. “Most of them have volunteered alongside her at some point, and they at times make monetary donations to Hannah’s in honor of Shirley on Christmas or her birthday.”

Oglesbee said she was “overwhelmed” to be recognized for her kindness.

“I just do things every day that I need to be doing, but I was so honored to be selected,” she said.

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