One from the Heart
Carol Clemens is such a gift to Hilton Head Island, those to whom she gives her time, and to her very special grandson. Lucky US!
Before I ever met Carol Clemens, I received an email from her with a one-word subject line. It simply read, "pictures". I thought she had sent a few photos of herself, perhaps to be used with the article. Not so! When I opened the attachment, I was met with one of the most beautiful collections of bird photos I have ever seen. I had no idea about that side of Carol, although, I was well aware of her commitment to voluntarism. So, meet Carol Clemens: the lady who brings together the love of nature with the love of giving to others.
Carol and her husband moved to the Lowcountry in 2005, after she retired from teaching in the Indianapolis area. Like so many others, they were long time vacationers who came to love Hilton Head Island. They also had an added incentive and bonus of being near their daughter and her family. Yes, they made a mad dash because of a grandchild on the way.
Carol grew up in New York and has an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Notre Dame University. After a brief time in the Panama Canal Zone with her husband, an Army Lieutenant Colonel, they spent the next 30 years in Indiana. When I asked her what she does here on Hilton Head in her relaxed retirement, again her answer was quite a surprise.
"My husband calls me a professional volunteer. I give about 825 hours a year in volunteer work. I volunteer as an interpreter at VIM, I tutor twice a week at the Boys and Girls Club, and I teach genealogy software and research classes at the Heritage Library. In the past, I also helped transcribe records for them. I am also a docent for the Coastal Discovery Museum, and I do knitting and crochet projects for missions. I help the HHI Audubon Society, and I currently serve as secretary for the Hilton Head Plantation Women's Association. I am secretary for my book club and I have presented several nature programs using my photography for the residents of Indigo Pines Retirement Center. I have been a guest speaker for various local clubs and groups, too. There are some other occasional activities, but these are the major ones."
No wonder her husband calls her a professional volunteer!
PINK: Let's rephrase.What do you do in your SPARE time?
CAROL: Well, I love to read and wander the beaches and nature sites with my camera. (That explains the beautiful pictures!) I also enjoy visiting my grandson, baking and watching television. My favorite programs are "NCIS", "CSI", and "American Pickers". My husband and I enjoy watching sports, especially the Notre Dame games.
PINK: What are some of your Island favorites?
CAROL: Our favorite restaurants are the Boathouse, Marley's, and Frankie Bones. I guess my favorite place on the Island is Pine Island in Hilton Head Plantation. I also deeply enjoy the beaches at Fish Haul and Mitchelville for birding and photography. The Pinckney National Wildlife Refuge is also wonderful for birding and photography.
As to favorite foods, we love the fresh seafood, but my true favorite is the South Carolina peaches.fantastic! We certainly had nothing like that in Indiana.
My special moment is probably not what you would think. I received many accolades and awards both in my teaching career and for my volunteer work that have been wonderful and gratifying, but my favorite special moment was when I became a Grandma. I have such a fabulous time planning what I call "Camp Grandma," when my grandson, Jacob, comes to visit. I so enjoy spoiling him. He comes in the summer without his mom and dad around, so you can just imagine! For example, last summer we had a history theme and visited Fort Sumter, the USS Yorktown, and any other historic site you can think of. What a great time!
Carol's words to live by: May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. -Prayer attributed to St. Theresa of Lisieux