WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio - Carol McClure recently earned the 2021 Air Force Fisher House Volunteer of the Year Award at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Fisher Houses are comfort homes where military and veteran families can stay free of charge, while a loved one is in the hospital.
McClure, a former nurse, has been volunteering with Fisher House for 29 years, since she retired in 1992.
“My husband is retired Air Force and they were good to us for 30 years, so this is just my way of giving back,” she said during a recognition event July 16 at WPAFB’s Fisher House II. “I wanted to help the troops and people who are sick, needing some extra care. I’ve always been a person who wanted to give back to others.”
McClure said she knew she was going to volunteer and sought opportunities that would allow her to assist others.
“I knew the minute that I saw they had a volunteer position open, [back when it was a Nightingale House], that I wanted to do this,” she added. “I started back in 1992 and here I am still doing it, so it must have been a good fit.”
Around the Fisher House, McClure is affectionately known as the “muffin lady.”
“I make muffins every week,” she said. “I would just talk with the guests, help make food and help make people feel comfortable. I really wasn’t up to making a whole meal, so I just baked muffins every week.”
Karen Healea, Fisher Houses manager at Wright-Patterson AFB, describes McClure as a dedicated volunteer and asset.
“She is always gracious, upbeat and generous with her time,” Healea said. “She gives of her heart and welcomes the guests like family. Her muffins have been an absolute hit with our guests and they often look forward to the muffin delivery. She’s so dedicated that even when she is busy, she will send her husband to do the delivery.”
McClure was nominated for being a “devoted and faithful volunteer” with nearly three decades of service to the Fisher Houses on base, Healea said.
“The guests look forward to her homemade muffins because it makes them feel like they are at home,” Healea added. “She has touched many lives at the Fisher House over the years.”
McClure describes the two times she met former President George W. Bush as among the more memorable moments from her service.
“I was selected as a base volunteer to meet the president when he came into Dayton International Airport on one of his campaigns,” she said. “It was a moment you couldn’t possibly understand unless you’ve gone through it and he was very nice to me. I got to attend the rally and see him off from the airport.”
Years later, McClure got to travel to the White House.
“He invited volunteers from places he had visited to the White House and so I got to go,” she added. “He gave a speech to about 200 of us and we got to talk to him. I was interviewed by our local newspaper and television, and it was just a very special day for me.”
McClure is thankful for the opportunity to volunteer with Fisher House and hopes to continue serving there.
“Receiving this award was quite an honor since I didn’t know I had been nominated for it,” she said. “There are a lot of people doing a lot of good work, and I’m glad they think that I was special enough to be nominated for this one.”