By RENEE FITE
Singing is one of Angela Austin’s greatest joys, and one of her favorite of ways to volunteer.
This past weekend, she performed with the choir for the First Baptist Church Christmas music celebration, “Born Is The King.”
She’s been singing with this choir for the past seven years.
“I’ve done some volunteer work for the church, too,” Austin said. “The rewards of volunteering with the choir are wonderful. I have made new friends and gone to several appreciation dinners.”
She and her husband, Ron, have also volunteered teaching archery at the United Methodist Children’s Home, along with helping autistic children who attend Camp Gray Squirrel.
“Volunteers can be merry, because no one orders them to be more than they can be,” Austin said. “I would advise everyone who can spare the time to volunteer. You will make new friends, keep old friends and get experience doing new things.”
Qualities important in being a volunteer include being on time, having a neat appearance, a willingness to learn something new, and a desire to share experience.
“It’s also important to have the love of God in your heart and the joy of the Lord in your soul,” she said. “Don’t expect to be rewarded, smile as often as possible, and be friendly and inquisitive.”
Volunteering began early for Austin.
“I got started volunteering at home as a child,” she said.
She washed dishes, made the beds, baby-sat her siblings, shopped for groceries, cooked the meals and did laundry.
“My mother always lavished praise on me when I did a good job,” Austin recalls.
Helping her grandfather with the farm was also time she enjoyed.
“I fed the chickens, planted and sowed the garden, fed he pigs and washed and sold eggs,” she said.
As a young mother, she volunteered as a Girl Scout leader for two years when her daughters were in Head Start and kindergarten.
In December 2003, she moved to Tahlequah from Stigler at the encouragement of her daughter, Lilly Glenn Velotta.
“I love Northeastern State University and the Illinois River camp sites and float places,” she said. “I love to swim at NSU with my husband Ron Austin.”
Austin transferred college credits from Los Angeles City College in Business Administration and music to Northeastern State University.
“My daughter graduated from NSU, and told me there were more job opportunities here,” Austin said. “I’m still planning to finish my degree.”
Austin has three grown daughters, Holly, Lilly, and Gloria, born in Los Angeles. She met her first husband, Oscar Glenn, in 1979 in an adult education choir class held at Hollywood High School. He died in 1988.
“When I was married to Oscar Glenn, I was an unpaid mother and housewife, or rather, a volunteer,” she said. “The rewards have been immeasurable.”
She’s been married to Ron Austin about six years. She has several grandchildren from both marriages.
Austin also knows the value of volunteers who have contributed to the well-being of her and her family.
“I admire and appreciate all that our Sunday School teachers have done for my children and me, and our kitchen crew who cook up such delicious meals, and our choir directors, Andy Latta and Ellis Stout,” she said. “I admire and appreciate the Girl Scouts for teaching me how to sell cookies and lead the girls.”
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