When Carrie’s mom took up volunteering at the Monroe County Fair in Monroe County, Mich., Carrie joined her. They partnered together, helping run the entrance gates, working in the ticket booths, and volunteering at grandstands. It’s a tradition that started when Carrie was young – and one that’s still going.
“Each year I actually take a week off and my mom and I spend that time volunteering at the fair,” Carrie shared. “We take a camper and camp out and spend time together. It’s great to spend that time with her, and it’s also great to reconnect with old friends and classmates, since Monroe County is my old stomping ground.”
Back in Milan, Carrie also serves on the board of the town’s main street revitalization program, where she puts in time planning events to draw folks to the downtown area for food, fun, and community.
“That’s something I’m really proud of, and that I’m looking forward to dedicating more time to,” she said. “We do everything, from a monthly town night out to seasonal events like a wine and beer walk. It’s a lot of fun, and I really love being a part of it.”
She also volunteers with a local little league, helping run Tee-ball, softball, and baseball games for youngsters.
“I’ve been involved in that since my children were small – and they’re grown now, so you can imagine how long that’s been,” she shared with a laugh.
Combined with her involvement in other youth organizations and general presence around town, Carrie is known fondly as “Mama Ritchie” by local children.
A lot of her involvement is seasonal – like the little league – but Carrie fills her downtime helping run numerous fundraisers, attending city council meetings, and working to be involved in any way she can.
“If there’s any kind of social event I’m usually there. I’ve actually managed to step back a bit,” she said with a laugh. “There’re days I go home and say, ‘Ok, what am I supposed to do with myself, now?’
In between all the hubbub, however, she still finds time to take care of herself and to take care of family.
“I work out daily, and I love to spend time with my friends, my nieces and nephews, and my grandbaby” she said. “And my family is a little traditional – we still get together every Sunday for Sunday dinner at my folks’ place, at 5 p.m. sharp.”
And while things may have slowed down, Carrie knows she’ll never give up volunteering – it’s in her bones.
“It’s hard to give up some of these things – the people always drive me back,” she said. “I enjoy being around people, I enjoy helping out people, and I enjoy giving back to the community. I just have a lot of passion.”