Mary Lou Mauldin resides on Dollarway Road, works on the street and should be at home as parade marshal of the White Hall Christmas Parade on Dollarway Friday evening.
The director of the White Hall Museum, 9009 Dollarway, believes in volunteering, but said she was surprised to learn she “had been volunteered” as the parade marshal.
“Since I am not sure what a parade marshal does, I need to do a little research,” she quipped.
She received the White Hall Chamber of Commerce’s Community Service Award in 2003 for her work with senior citizens and in March was presented the chamber’s Senior Award.
Named the museum’s director, a part-time post, effective Jan. 1, 2009, she can often be found at the facility six days a week.
White Hall depends on volunteers for many functions, Mauldin explained, encourages seniors who have retired and have the time to help out in a number of areas.
“We could use them at the museum,” she said earlier this year, to help establish a reading room for individuals interested in the city’s history.
“We have plans for a video room with information about the White Hall area from old newspapers,” she added.
“Volunteers are needed in the schools to help in many ways,” Maudlin emphasized. “We have many families where both parents work and children are not around older family members because they have died or don’t live close.
“Let them have a rocking chair in a classroom and the older volunteers could serve as mentors or provide a kind word or a hug for students when it is needed.”
Volunteers are needed to assist with a literacy program and teach others to read, or read to patients with vision handicaps in nursing homes, she suggested.
“You never get too old to volunteer and make a contribution,” she stated.
Mauldin said she was “excited” that the city plans to build a new museum on the current site, noting the existing structure is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
She said she would like to have more room for the museum’s Military Room, the largest exhibit, to display military memorabilia, ranging from West Point uniforms, uniforms from past Pine Bluff Arsenal commanders and a uniform from the Army Air Corps World War II flying school at Grider Field at Pine Bluff.
The museum is also the home of a Veterans Monument listing the names of those killed and missing in action from the White Hall area.
The museum hosts annual open houses marking Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Christmas.
She said Dr. Ron Wise, a museum volunteer, has been busy this week putting up Christmas decorations and an exhibit featuring a model train.
To draw attention to an open house, she may stage a small parade on the museum parking lot, offering skits and music before bringing out refreshments.
“The Christmas open house will involve help from many volunteers,” she said. “It just bowls me over that the volunteers are so gracious in sharing their talents.”
She said she was encouraged that plans for a new museum will play an even bigger role during White Hall’s 50th anniversary in 2014, adding that work on the preparations have been started.
She jokes that since she lives on Dollarway Road and the museum is on Dollarway, her pickup truck is programmed to drive toward the museum whenever she opens the door.