Hudson residents may have seen Mags Coulson around at the library. Or the high school. Or at Plantables. Or perhaps at Hop and Barrel.
She volunteers at each of them, giving her time in different ways throughout the community. At the high school, Coulson volunteers with the military display, lost and found, AP exams, in the library and wherever else is needed. Her time there led her to Jim Schreiber, who opened Plantables, where Coulson helps young adults with disabilities make products.
Coulson fell into her work with the library, after finding a flyer asking for help in the courier bins. It started as a couple hours a day, and now Coulson is probably one of the few people who have touched every single book in the library.
Coulson started helping out at Hop and Barrel shortly after it opened, with canning, putting together cases and serving as another set of hands when things get busy.
What led you to volunteering with each of these places?
Each of them was just being in the right place when someone was needed. At the high school, my oldest daughter was going to the U.S. Naval Academy. I asked Ed Lucas, who was principal at the time, if the military display case could be updated. That evolved into me taking over the display. That was 2006. It has been hard with the virus to be able to go in and update things, but I am hoping to do that again in the fall.
Lost and found ... I hated that usable items were being tossed. I have been doing that for about 12-15 years. I inventory it and find a new home for everything. Most go to the homeless shelters, if they can accept what I have. Sometimes there is a lot, but students are getting better about looking for things left behind these days.
Plantables was after Jim retired. He started this business with some of his students from Life Skills. I was thrilled to be asked to help out there. The Wednesday group of people are pretty special and we get together periodically. We are there for one another, like a family of choice.
The library is near and dear to me. I love books. I might have been a librarian in a former life!
My home children's library is set up like what we have at the Hudson Area Public Library children's area. I still love going in every day, because there is something new each day. I always can find a project or something to do when I am there. The staff is knowledgeable and helpful, whether in person or by phone or email . So happy that they are open to almost full time again.
Hop and Barrel is just a fun place to hang out. They are like another family. Great folks making a great product. It has been fun to see it all grow.
Why did you want to be involved within the community?
I think I learned that from my mother. She was involved in so many things when I was growing up. I did some volunteering while in college and after college. But then I got married to a Naval Officer and moved to Japan. There I learned to get involved in things just to learn the culture. I was a newlywed and even though my father was Navy, I didn't know much about the Navy lifestyle. I only knew one family once we arrived there. He had to go meet the ship a few days after arrival, so I was on my own to find someplace to live, get a car -- which you can't get without a driver’s license, but you need a car to take the driving test. On the wrong side of the road. Trial by fire, so to speak.
It was get involved or be miserable. I chose to jump in with both feet. I have continued to do that the last 35 years and hope to go another 35. I can't remember a time when I haven't been able to do something in some way.
What is your favorite aspect of your volunteer work?
The people. There are so many people out there. If I can help make their day a little easier, I will try. I can listen if that is what that person needs at that point in their day. Every day is different, Every place is different. Like the people you meet.
What impact do you hope to have on the community?
I want people to see that it doesn't take much to help out places. There are opportunities if you want them. I hope that I can bring a little smile to each person I see. In this crazy time, it just feels like I should be doing something. I like to take treat trays to a dozen places around town during most of the holidays. It lets them know that someone is thinking about them. It isn't much, but I hope that they all enjoy the treats. The time that everything was closed took a lot out of everyone.
To see people back out there again ... pure bliss.