Shirley Goehring

One from the Heart

"God takes care of us. All we have to do is be patient." Shirley is a registered nurse by profession and has had several positions in the medical world. When she retired, volunteer work came naturally to her. She was and always has been inspired by her mother-an outstanding woman and a leader in her time. Shirley remembers her best for the fact that she was always organized. She was also a member of the International Garment Workers Union and president of her local chapter, traveling extensively for the Union; pretty unheard of back then. She was Woman of the Year for the state of Rhode Island and very involved in her church and many other volunteer activities. Who would not be inspired by such a woman? So, it's not surprising that Shirley is an inspiration herself. The mother of four daughters and grandmother to five, she takes great pride in her family, and has been married to her husband Gary since 1956. Her days are filled with giving to others in ways that even her friends do not fully know. Humility is also a part of her personality. For example, I have known Shirley for quite a number of years and only recently heard that she was the founding president of the Indigo Run Women's Club. PINK: How did you start what is now a club with more than 250 members and 20 interest groups? Shirley: I was at lunch one day in the Indigo Run Club and Diane Klipp, a friend of mine, came up to me and started talking about how hard it was for newcomers to make friends. This was 15 years ago, mind you, and there were not too many people to have as friends anyway. Diane said to me that what we needed was a women's club, and if I would be the organizer and first president, she would hold a coffee in her house to see if anyone was interested. Well, it took off from there. We had 32 women, with 10 of them volunteering to be a steering committee to get things rolling. Now the Indigo Run Women's Club gives newcomers, and I mean people from all over the country, a chance to make friends and start their new lives. I was also asked to help start the Palmetto Hall Women's Club and the Sea Pines Women's Club. I was happy to say yes! PINK: I know you are very busy, What do you do in a typical day? Shirley: My days are very full. I do a lot of community service, I love water aerobics, knitting, playing the piano, and playing bridge. I knit sweaters for children at the Early Childhood Elementary School, among other places. I also make quilts; I am an active member of the Palmetto Quilt Guild. I help out with Backpack Buddies, and I am an usher and greeter at church, where I have also cooked dinners and been in charge of the kitchen. Shirley stops here but I will go on, as I said, she is very humble and private about her good works. When she says she makes quilts, she belongs to a group that made and gave into the charitable community of Hilton Head and Bluffton a total of 278 quilts. They gave another 55 quilts to people in New York who were affected by Hurricane Sandy. Shirley is what is called a "Bee Keeper," which means she keeps track of Quilting Bees and organizes new groups. Last year she started two new Bees, which means more quilts for those in need. When she says she plays the piano, few know that she plays at Palm Meadows for worship every other Sunday. She also bakes cookies for Treat the Troops, and has worked with students at Literacy Volunteers. PINK: What was the most inspirational or touching thing you have done since you came here? Shirley: After Hurricane Katrina a group of 13 of us from church went down to a small town in Mississippi for a week to help out. We painted, refurbished, and rebuilt-not just homes, but lives. All 13 of us slept in one room on air mattresses. I will never forget that experience. What a wonderful thing to do for our fellow human beings. God takes care of us. All we have to do is be patient. Meet Shirley: We usually associate the word gift with a holiday or event. The other definition is even more special. A gift can be a service, support, a caring hand, a sacrifice, or even a kindness. Those are the kind of inspirational gifts that have real meaning and keep on giving. As a family, the Goehrings started coming to Hilton Head in 1985. As many others do, they too moved up the Hilton Head ladder. They started with a small vacation, stayed longer the next time, and bought a lot on the next visit. When their job circumstances changed, it took them only a short time to get in the car and head for the Island to start building a new house and a new life.