Volunteering, living life without things important to Maggie Malloy

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 581 views 

Throughout Maggie Malloy’s life she has accumulated many things that would constitute “the good life,” but her enjoyment of life comes from much more than things.

Graceful, energetic, and artistic, Malloy knows how to enjoy life to the fullest. She enjoys traveling, absorbing with an artistic eye the beauty of the plethora of places she visits. During an interview, Malloy began with an area near and dear to her heart: volunteerism.

She reminisced about organizations to which she has given her time, but advises women to choose wisely where to spend their time and energy.” Experience exposed her to boards and organizations that proved to be breeding grounds for petty fighting, rather than focusing on the real good for which the organization was created. These experiences prepared her for future leadership roles.

“Never be afraid to fail,” she said. “It is through failing that the best lessons are often learned.”

PIVOTAL EXPERIENCES
One of her favorite volunteer experiences was The Children’s Service League in Fort Smith. The volunteers managed and picked up clothing and were even allowed to transport the children. With a touch of sadness in her voice, she said the volunteers can’t transport the children now because of liability. This was a very rewarding volunteer experience, and she cherishes the memories of those times.

 

Malloy mentioned a session she attended on pivotal experiences which emphasized the thought “Why are we where we are today?” Are we where we are because of our past experiences, or are our past experiences a determinant of what leads us where we are today? She moved on quickly to another point, but will circle back to this thought as she moves forward with her story. Like the artist she is, Malloy will weave together various facets of her life experiences into a tapestry.

She grew up in a family of many medical professionals. Her mother was a registered nurse. She had wealthy aunts and uncles who exposed her to fine cars, fascinating trips and beautiful, large homes. She witnessed the good life, and aspired to have it, but her early childhood did not provide her with these things because her well paid father spent the family’s income on alcohol, and as a result, Malloy grew up with few things but a lot of life experiences which she attributes to her resourcefulness and determination.

 

BUILDING A BUSINESS
This resourcefulness was reflected during her early years of marriage to Ben Gosey. While Ben was working at B.F. Goodrich, Malloy took care of their small country home outside Oklahoma City. Malloy, now expecting their first son, Jeff, made weekly trips to Oklahoma City to a laundry mat. A washer and dryer was rapidly becoming a necessity. She asked her mom for a loan which her mother denied. She did the only thing she could to raise the money. She sold her beautiful wedding dress for $50 to buy the washer and dryer.

Their family was later made complete with birth of daughter, Carrie. They soon moved to Fort Smith, investing $350 in a company run by other partners. Malloy stayed involved in the business by helping Ben while working within the home and raising Jeff and Carrie. Ben poured himself into the growth of Van Buren-based Arkansas Poly, every year being rewarded with equity in the company from his other partners while Maggie provided daily child care in her home to supplement their income during these lean financial times.

By the end of the 10th year Malloy and Ben owned 10% of Arkansas Poly, and the sacrifice of no debt and hard work brought the possibility of the good life into view. As a devout Catholic, Malloy is adamant when you start out at the income level she and Ben did you must walk in faith. Walking in faith creates great strength. Around this time, at the advice of a good friend and mentor, Malloy stopped introducing herself as Mrs. Ben Gosey, and began introducing herself as Maggie Gosey in a quest to define herself.

VOLUNTEER DIRECTOR
With children now grown, she was offered a position as volunteer director of St. Edward Hospice. Malloy, along with many other volunteers set out to grow hospice.  She ignored the fact there was not going to be reimbursements for her out of pocket expenses and she threw herself into this work. There was so little money to work with at that time that she used one of the bedrooms in her home as her office. Within a short period of time, hospice grew to more than 100 volunteers including many medical professionals.

“This organization helped a lot of people, a whole lot of people,” Malloy said.

Phillips Cancer Support House began in 1990 as an outgrowth of hospice. With donations from the Don Reynolds Foundation a beautiful new building was constructed and completed in 2000 and renamed in honor of the donor. Malloy loves being part of the Hospice organization and is proud of the new building and loves the annual celebration.

She does wish the volunteers who began hospice were a bigger part of the celebration and more emphasis put on the work rather than the building. When asked how she chose hospice she was quick to say, “I didn’t choose hospice, rather it chose me.”

She was recruited to start hospice under then what was St. Edward. She brings up the session she took on pivotal experiences. Did Malloy become director of Hospice because of her life experiences or did her life experiences choose this destiny for her? Malloy helped deliver babies when she was as young as 14 when a doctor took her under his wing. She believes she inherited the desire to help people and to care for them from her family. Being present at the death of patients at such a tender age prepared her to be with people as they prepared to pass.

“When people are on their death bed they impart amazing words of wisdom. It is simply a privilege to be present at that moment,” she said.

‘DON’T NEED ALL THOSE THINGS’
It has been at these very moments she has learned the truth about living. The life lessons learned from those who share both sorrows and joy is life changing. She often hears things from patients that they would never have spoken of before but now want to share with a hospice caregiver. She will never betray words spoken by people in their last hours of life; however when mentoring others or lending a listening ear, she will reach into that storehouse of the wealth of knowledge she has learned from people who have passed and by sharing that wisdom she is creating a circle of life.

When asked if there were any other experiences in her life she would like to share with other women, she responds without hesitating.

“Yes. I am most proud that I never worked outside the home while raising our children. We had to make a lot of sacrifices to allow me to stay home. We had to do without a lot of things.”

She is saddened she says by the stress she sees young couples go through.

“Things are simply not that important. People don’t need all those things. Live life, be happy with what you have, and don’t buckle under peer pressure to have things that are here today and gone tomorrow.”

This is a woman who from the time she was young aspired to have the good things in life; however she knows there is a right way and a wrong way to get those good things. She is not being judgmental. She simply cares about others, and their quality of life.

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