BELFAST, Maine — Patricia Hustus may be 82, but the Belfast woman and tireless volunteer doesn’t seem to have the phrase “slow down” in her vocabulary.
From delivering meals to shut-ins to finding the perfect props for plays put on by the Belfast Maskers-Cold Comfort Theater, she’s one of the people who help to make the city special, according to a group of friends who met this week to thank her for her years of volunteer service. They also wanted to say goodbye in style, because Hustus soon will be leaving the city she has called home since 1987 to move with her ailing husband to be closer to their children.
“Pat would come out in the bitter cold. She never failed to show up,” said Carol Good of the Belfast Parks & Recreation Commission, another of Hustus’ volunteer endeavors. “There is such a strong volunteer community here. For Pat to take on responsibilities with three of those groups is just amazing. I think we will all miss her very much.”
Hustus said that the first thing she will do to settle into her new community will be to find an organization she can join as a volunteer.
“I love being useful,” she said.
Aynne Ames of the Belfast Maskers — Cold Comfort Theater said that it will be very hard to find another volunteer as thorough and dedicated as the octogenarian prop mistress.
“She always wanted to be exactly right,” Ames said of Hustus.
At Spectrum Generations in Waldo County, for which Hustus has delivered meals to homebound seniors and disabled adults for more than 12 years, she is a volunteer that officials describe as a “spitfire” and a spark. They’ve nominated her as Volunteer of the Year for the Governor’s Award for Service and Volunteerism.
“She personifies what it means to be selfless, determined, steadfast and dedicated,” Allison Wood, volunteer liaison for the agency wrote about Hustus. “With her boundless energy and can-do attitude, you would have no indication that Pat is herself a senior and, in some cases, older than those she is serving.”
Meals on Wheels recipients said that Hustus’ arrival at their doors marks a bright spot in weeks that otherwise can be long and sometimes gloomy, Wood said.
Hustus, originally of Greenville, Miss., said she will profoundly miss the community that’s come to be her home.
“I love everything about Belfast,” she said. “I love the people. I love the enthusiasm. They don’t stand still. I really feel at home here.”