Most people dream of a retirement where they’re able to laze around all day or engage in their favorite hobbies, and nothing else. But not Mildred Notaro. The longtime Baldwinite has dedicated her time in recent years to being a community volunteer at St. Christopher’s Church with the Rosary Altar Society and the Auxiliary of South Nassau Communities Hospital, a group of people who host fundraising events for the hospital.
“I think I get it from my mother,” Notaro told the Herald. “I like to get up and do things. I believe that if you don’t use it, you’re going to lose it.”
It’s not easy for her to do everything she does; Notaro is 83 and can’t get around easily — she relies on buses, taxis or rides from her friends to get to where she needs to be. But she always finds a way.
“She’s absolutely devoted,” Sally Valenti, president of the SNCH Auxiliary group, said. “She’d come to the hospital in the snow, in the rain, no matter what. Once she made a commitment, she was right there.”
For her invaluable dedication to the hospital, Notaro was honored by a number of dignitaries at the 2018 SNCH Auxiliary Annual Silver Tea Luncheon.
“She’s always been so reliable,” Valenti said. “I can rely on her no matter what.”
Notaro, who has lived in Baldwin for 47 years, said she joined the auxiliaries years ago as a way to give back to the hospital.
“I have had a couple of procedures there,” she said, “and they have always been so great to me … I thought it would be like a thank you.”
The auxiliaries meet to discuss what causes should benefit from fundraising activities — past donations have gone to the expansion of the hospital’s emergency room and paying for continuing education courses of SNCH nurses. One way the group raises money is by bringing different vendors to the hospital to sell specialty goods.
“They have clothing, handbags, all sorts of stuff,” Notaro said. She, and other auxiliaries, will sit with the vendors and do whatever is needed — whether that be getting them food, holding down the fort while they go to the bathroom or just talk to them.
Some vendors are more popular than others — there’s one woman who paints on glass. But according to Notaro, none is more popular than “the Amish man,” who comes biannually.
“He gets a man to bring him in his truck, because obviously he can’t drive,” Notaro said. “He sells breads, eggs, milk … he has apple butter.”
Notaro also regularly helps out at St. Christopher’s Rosary Altar Society, helping to care for the church’s altar. For fun, she likes to go bowling.
“I’ll just walk up to the lane and throw the ball,” she said.
When asked how much longer she plans on helping out around the community, Notaro responded, “As long as I can.
“It makes you feel good,” she said of volunteering. “It gives you a reason to get up and get out in the morning.”