By Maria Gurovich for The Island Connection
Our Lady of Mercy Neighborhood House soup kitchen volunteer, Joseph McIntyre, was born and raised in a small village in the Finger Lakes region in New York State.
“I went to high school there, and in 1952, six of my high school friends and I enlisted in the Navy to fight in the Korean War,” McIntyre said. After Boot Camp and Service School, he was assigned to the USS Pandemus stationed in Charleston in 1952. On a visit to the USO he met his future wife, Joan Seabrook. They married in 1954 and shared life together for 48 years. They had three children, two boys and a girl. The youngest is now 47 and the oldest is 60. Joe has three grandchildren and a 2 year-old great granddaughter.
After the Navy he worked in retail, however, the job wasn’t stable since it was based on commission. Then, in 1961, he got a job with EXXON Co. USA (later to become ExxonMobil), where he worked until 1992, when he retired as a Terminal Supervisor. In 1999, Joe found out about a new program that EXXON offered to keep retirees involved. For each 20 hours of volunteer work ExxonMobil awards $500 to the soup kitchen. Since Joe became involved in the program the Soup Kitchen has received $22.000 dollars.
He first became involved with the Neighborhood House 31 years ago, while still employed full-time, thanks to his fellow parishioners from the St. Thomas Apostle Church, who served meals at the soup kitchen there. Initially, Anne Owens was the soup manager, but soon after, the current manager, Vonceil Mitchell, took over.
In recent years, The Neighborhood House has grown and expanded its services. Joe appreciates all the new education and outreach programs that are now offered there. Joe is very involved in the community, organizations such as the Exchange Club of North Charleston and the Knights of Columbus. Additionally, he serves as the Commissioner on the North Charleston planning committee. Joe is also a Eucharistic minister for the homebound, which he finds very rewarding.
Joe loves volunteering with the soup kitchen at the Neighborhood House since he strongly believes that “You don’t take anything except what you do for others.”
Editor’s Note: Volunteer Spotlight is a column in The Island Connection highlighting members of the community who give their time to help others. If you know of a volunteer who deserves the spotlight email firstname.lastname@example.org.