“She is like a second mother to me. She always remembers everyone's birthday and always makes time for everyone,” Beckendorf said. “Everyone in the clinic appreciates what she does.”
Conner also has had lap afghans made for the veterans and passed out fruit baskets at Christmas.
Now that she is “officially” retired, Conner plans to enjoy her free time quilting.
“I have six quilts waiting on me,” Conner joked. “I'll miss the veterans. I really enjoyed talking to them and for some of them, they didn't have anyone to talk to, so I enjoyed listening to their stories.”
Veteran Al Ayo wrote a special poem in Conner's honor.
Coffee my friend, is how she began
To keep us from being nervous
Donuts are free for Veterans you see
We thank you for your service
For many years these greetings you hear
as the Palestine VA Clinic you enter
These ladies here that we hold dear
Volunteer both Summer and Winter
It's not by chance, but planned in advance
By a lady who gives up her time
Who leads the way, to schedule the day
For each volunteer she can find
Her goal of good cheer, for 15 years
Oct. 28th she'll be gone
We send her a kiss, she will surely be missed
But the work she began, will leave on
Thank you, Joann
From Your Grateful Veterans
(Al Ayo, October 2013)
Moving into the volunteer coordinator position will be Carolina Shannon from League City/NASA area.
“She has big shoes to fill, but she'll do well,” Beckendorf said.
Just before Shannon's husband, Chuck, retired from working at NASA, she got a job working at a nursing home in Fairfield as a certified activity director.
“I am now retired and consider myself a professional volunteer since I volunteer in various assisted living facilities and nursing homes,” Shannon said. “I am very honored to serve as coordinator for The Doughnut Dollies at the Palestine VA Clinic. I look forward to working with the volunteers and serving our wonderful veterans. I thank them for their service.”
Shannon is a member of the Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America and the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary, where she serves as chaplain.
“Please pray for me as I endeavor to fill Mrs. Joann Conner's shoes. I know that everyone will miss her and I wish her the best!” Shannon said.