VIENNA — Shirley Jackson joined an exclusive group last week, when she was inducted into the Maryland Senior Citizens’ Hall of Fame. The honor was achieved after many years of community service in Dorchester County, including religious, cultural, health and historical contributions.
The award itself, called the GERI, features a child’s hand in the palm of an older person, symbolizing the guidance and wisdom that a senior citizen offers to a youth.
Normally the awards are given at a large banquet held in Baltimore. However, because of Covid concerns, Hall of Fame representatives E. Stewart Tucker and his wife Ruth from travelled to Cambridge to honor Ms. Jackson. “Ms. Jackson’s untiring volunteerism to many local organizations has given her the affectionate label of the ‘energizer bunny,’” a statement from Nanticoke Historic Preservation Alliance Trustee Midge Ingersoll said. “During and after her 30-year employment in nursing services at the Eastern Shore Hospital Center, Shirley has been active in the Waugh Chapel, a Trustee of the Nanticoke Historic Preservation Alliance (Handsell), Harriet Tubman Museum, Friends of the Library, NAACP, Coastal Hospice and the Dorchester County Historical Society among many others.”
Ms. Jackson is an advisor on African-American history at Handsell. Her latest endeavor is to volunteer in efforts to provide free books to children to encourage reading.
One letter of nomination for Ms. Jackson said, “It has been my privilege to know Shirley Jackson, my honor to work with her and I will always be grateful for all that I have learned from her.”
Praise for Ms. Jackson’s work came from many sources following the announcement.
“Congratulations to Ms. Shirley Jackson, the recipient of the GERI Maryland Outstanding Volunteer Award,” a statement from Waugh Chapel United Methodist Church said. “Ms. Shirley is a valued member at Waugh Chapel serving in numerous capacities. We all know what a kind and giving person she is and we appreciate all she does in the community and at Waugh Chapel.”
“The GERI award is the geriatric “Nobel Prize” for extraordinary community service,” the Dorchester Retired Educators Association said. “Shirley Jackson has and continues to devote her life to caring and volunteering to improve the lives of others. Shirley is an Honorary Member of the Dorchester Retired Educators Association.”
On Sept. 18, 1987 a group of citizens in Maryland decided to establish a Hall of Fame dedicated to honoring senior citizens of the state who make exemplary contributions to society.
The Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame is a corporation under the laws of the State of Maryland and a non-profit whose Board of Directors are all volunteers. Shirley S. Jackson’s name will be inscribed in the Archives of the Hall of Fame along with the other 2020 recipients, LTC (Ret) Ralph W. and Patricia Chase of Talbot Co., Homan F. Hallock of Caroline Co., William P. and Genevieve Metzger of Baltimore and Harold Siskind of St. Mary’s Co.