A friendly visit on a lonely afternoon. A warm greeting at the
community general store. The discreet efficiency of a devoted
worker. Color-soaked murals to take your breath away.
These are all signs of resident volunteers at the Masonic
Homes. These residents have found their own ways to give back,
both on and off the Masonic Homes campuses in Union CIty
and Covina, California. They give their time, their talents, and
the very best of themselves.
Every week, Diane Priddy can be found walking the halls of the
Union City Home with a powerful magnifying glass in one hand
and a stack of church programs in the other. She delivers the
programs to those who cannot attend church – those who aren’t
feeling well that week, or who are bedridden in skilled nursing or memory care. She carries the magnifying glass because
she is nearly blind. Priddy lost an eye to illness when she was
in her 20s, just after she moved to the United States from her
homeland of Japan.
“I did not want to be limited because of my vision, so I really
pushed myself,” Priddy says. She learned how to speak English,
and got her GED. She went to work at an independent living
center for those with disabilities. “I learned from the residents
there that everything is possible if I really try,” Priddy says.
“They changed my life.”
And so, although the vision in her remaining eye has
declined, she continues to seek ways to help. Besides deliver-
ing programs, she volunteers once a week at “The Canteen,” a
small kitchen on campus. And every week
or so, she visits residents in the memory
“I get more out of those visits than I give,”
she says. “They give me strength, really. Just
a little smile makes it worth doing.”
“It’s very satisfying just to see somebody
smile,” agrees Ruth Caster. “I guess that’s
why I enjoy doing things for other people.”
Clifford passed away five years ago, but
Caster still runs the general store one day a
week. She also sorts mail, leads tours, and
hosts prospective residents during their
three-day trial visits. The church across
the street relies on her to send out a weekly
stream of birthday and anniversary cards on
behalf of the congregation.
Caster is a longtime member of the Order
of the Eastern Star, and throughout her life
has been actively involved in DeMolay,
Boy Scouts, her senior center, and church.
Volunteering is second nature.
AT THE MASONIC HOMES IN
COVINA AND UNION CITY,
RESIDENTS USE THEIR TALENTS
AND PASSION TO HELP OTHERS
by Laura Benys