by Barbara Carroll
Last week Gwen Riel joined the Hub/Rebound volunteer team. Gwen is not just any volunteer. She is the mother of the Hub Staff Supervisor Tammy Riel-Carson and the grandmother of Molly Carson who works in the store some Saturdays. This is a first for the Hub. We have never had three generations from the same family working at the Hub at the same time. We have had mother-daughter teams before, and currently have three: Julia Thomas and her daughter Paddy Vargas, Catherine Sykes and her daughter Julie McGrath, and Wendy and Chelsea Powell. But three generations? Well, no, we haven’t had that before.
The Riel family has been in Almonte for 30 years. Tammy grew up in the town, finished her schooling and left, only to return to raise her own family here. Molly is born and bred in Almonte.
The first family member to join the Hub was Tammy. Recruited by Julia Thomas 20 years ago, Tammy came as a new Mom for a playgroup and soon worked in Toys, then as a sorter, and, since December 2017, she has been the Staff Supervisor at the Hub. All three of her children have been raised at the Hub by volunteers who Tammy describes as: “pretty incredible women”. In Tammy’s words, “the Hub is family, it’s community, it’s about giving back, and it is about being thankful for all the Hub has done for me and my family”.
Molly was the next generation to join the Hub. She is a bit of a legend because she has been involved from the time she began to walk. Like her siblings, Molly came to work with Tammy: She dragged bags to be sorted, acted as a “pretend” cashier on Thursday evenings with the help of Donna Smith and Marg Sabourin, and helped at the kids’ Christmas Shopping day. When we needed someone to work the Saturday shift at the store Molly came forward and, although she no longer works every Saturday she is at the store some weekends. Molly says, “the Hub is a place where no matter how old you are, where you come from, or what’s in your wallet, there is always a new treasure to find or a new friend to be made. I’ve grown up here and am thankful for all the amazing and influential women I have met along the way”.
More recently Gwen, Tammy’s Mom, mentioned to Tammy that she had some time on her hands and wanted to get out of the house and mingle with people more often. For Tammy there was only one solution – volunteer at the Hub! Gwen jumped at the chance and we jumped at her. When she was introduced to volunteers as Tammy’s Mom the reaction was always: “Hi, we love Tammy”! After one shift it seemed like Gwen had been with us for years. She fits in seamlessly and her training is very straightforward because, as she says, “I have already been briefed by Molly!” When Gwen talks about the Hub she says, “ I am looking to being a part of the future of this organization. I am so thankful for all the Hub has done for me and my family, including making my country chic 50th wedding anniversary party possible. Who needs the big box stores anyway?”
Just as Tammy, Molly, and Gwen are thankful for all the Hub has given them, the rest of us are very grateful for all they have given the Hub, and for all they continue to contribute. They capture perfectly what the Hub is all about and they let us all be a part of their family.