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Nourishing her community

Volunteer helps more with extra time on her hands

Jan. 3, 2012

It's all about community for Vicky Ostry - whether that means revitalizing a neighborhood association, working at a church food pantry or recruiting poll workers for the Republican Party.

"I love the community," Ostry said. "I love the fellowship."

Volunteerism was always on her radar. But after she retired from the Department of Defense in 2002, it became her calling.

"It's been great fun," said Ostry, 57, who left her job because of downsizing and now runs a virtual office assistant business from her Wauwatosa home.

Having time at home helped Ostry realize how much her neighborhood had changed since she and her family moved in nearly 30 years ago.

"I was trying to remember if I had a single neighbor who was the same," Ostry said.

Hoping to get to know the new people in her area, Ostry talked with a neighbor about restarting the Quarry Heights Neighborhood Association. They then went door to door on Mother's Day asking people to participate.

They had six members that day, six more in the days after that. So far, they've held a chili and movie night, a block party and a Halloween decorating contest, with plans for a winter activity.

"I see a real need for it, a real want for it," Ostry said. "And we just gave them an outlet for it."

Ostry's community connections have widened with her involvement at Northwest Baptist Church and food pantry, which serves the 53222 and 53225 ZIP codes from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday.

In addition to the food pantry, members of the church, at 92nd and Congress streets, put on an Easter pageant, collect backpacks for back-to-school and provide tutoring at nearby Emerson Elementary School.

Recently, Ostry also has helped recruit official partisan poll workers, whose names must be submitted by the end of November for approval by the Common Council. The sign-up is part of an effort to replenish the ranks of the Republican Party's poll volunteers, an aging population.

It's also another way Ostry can stay connected to her community and give back.

"It's what drives me," she said.

To recommend a person be featured in Someone You Should Know, send an e-mail to someone@cninow.com or call (262) 446-6643.

JUST THE FACTS

NAME: Vicky Ostry

AGE: 57

NOTED FOR: volunteer work with food pantry, neighborhood association, Republican Party

ONLINE: www.quarryheightsna.org; www.northwestbaptist.com

OSTRY'S PEARLS OF WISDOM:

"I love the community. I love the fellowship."

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