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A volunteer for life


Dorothy Shively has retired from the Salvation Army in Grafton, but she’s not giving up on community service

GRAFTON — Dorothy Shively has a heart of gold.

Dorothy Shively, 85, of Grafton, poses with her awards for serving as a volunteer for the Salvation Army for more than 30 years.

That’s because for a little more than 30 years, Shively, now 85, has been volunteering her time to many local organizations, including one that is close to her heart — the Salvation Army.

The Grafton Salvation Army has operated out of the Grafton United Methodist Church since 1977 — the church where Shively has been a member for 45 years.

According to Shively, the Rev. Rodney Damico, who took over the Grafton United Methodist Church in 1977, approached her one day to see if she would be interested in forming a Salvation Army for Grafton.

Shively said her two children, David Shively and Shirley Fetkett, were grown and ready to embark on their own adventures, so she decided to do something for herself, and in the long run help thousands of people.

“It was a satellite office, the main one was in Cleveland. He asked me if I would help him get it started, and 31 years later, I was still doing it, but didn’t realize it,” Shively said from her home on Sunshine Court, about a block from the church.

Prior to volunteering her time, Shively worked in a factory in the 1940s sewing parachutes for the soldiers. After World War II, she worked in another factory sewing coats. It was after she became pregnant that she made the decision to be a stay-at-home mom.

Shively said it was her love of people that allowed her to volunteer endless hours with the Salvation Army. And she credits her love of people and helping others to her parents.

“My father and mother were very giving of themselves,” Shively said, noting that her parents took in two boys who were abandoned during the Great Depression. “I saw the reward (my parents had) in those boys. We became a family.”

Shively said there were a few times when she would receive a phone call at home late at night telling her someone needed assistance. She would either drive or walk the block to the church late in the evening to see what the person needed.

“I got calls at night and I would take care of them,” Shively said. “I worked with what the situation called for, and each situation was

At times, people needed utility bills paid or prescriptions filled. Other times, it was food and emergency shelter. The Grafton Salvation Army also took care of those who had children in the Midview school district but didn’t reside in Grafton.

“We helped whoever was in need,” Shively said.

Her late husband, William Shively, never wondered where his wife was when he returned to the house.

“I’d leave a note. He was in favor of what I did,” Shively said.

In September, Shively made the decision to step down from her post at the Salvation Army in Grafton.

“I have enjoyed all of the years, every minute. I hope someone will get the same enjoyment out of it,” Shively said.

The Rev. Delaine McGhee said replacing Shively was not an easy task.

“I have never seen such a worker. She is tireless. It’s been a real pleasure to work with ‘Sister Dorothy.’ She has taught me a lot. She has a heart for Jesus and a heart for people,” McGhee said.

Although Shively has retired from the Salvation Army, those close to her know she is not the type of person to sit around and let life pass her by.

“I love to entertain. Everything I do involves people,” Shively said as she walked past a room full of photographs, each capturing her children, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Shively belongs to Church Women United, and for the past 31 years she has been volunteering at the Wesleyan Senior Living Village (a non-profit corporation affiliated with the United Methodist Church).

Contact Melissa Linebrink at 329-7155 or

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