Hilda pictured with her daughter Ellen
by Jim Davis
If you’ve ever thought that you were too old to help people transform their lives, the story of Hilda Moser will change your mind. Hilda was in her 80s when she joined the Life Enrichment Center. And though she retired in 2013, her legacy can still be seen at the LEC.
Hilda came to Dayton from Florida to search for work. She found a job as a waitress, a career that ended up lasting forty-five years. She was married with four children. Her husband wasn’t home much, so she ended up raising the children pretty much by herself. Her life wasn’t always easy, but she was always able to find something to laugh or find joy about. She encouraged her children to read and to learn as much as they could. And she had a passion for helping others, which she passed down to her children as well.
Hilda was introduced to the Life Enrichment Center in 2004 by her daughter Ellen. She began volunteering by serving in the kitchen, which fit well with her lifetime of waitressing experience. As she got older, it became hard for her to stand for long periods, so she transferred to the front desk. She was a good fit for that role because she was engaging and friendly: she always had a way to smile and laugh when something difficult happened.
Hilda’s greatest contribution wasn’t necessarily the work she did herself, it was the number of other volunteers she brought with her. She spoke passionately about the Center to her friends at Memorial Presbyterian Church. She convinced one, Max Jenks to join her as a volunteer. Max then convinced others to join and soon there were 10 people from the church on the volunteer roster. They included Butch Hunter, who became the Kitchen and Facility Coordinator.
In 2009, the Center celebrated Hilda’s 90th birthday with a surprise party in the downstairs dining room. She worked several more years before her failing eyesight forced her to retire for good.
Eight years later, Hilda’s legacy lives on at the LEC. Butch is still the Kitchen and Facility Coordinator. Her daughter Ellen Shelley is the Pathways to Growth Director. And in 2019, her granddaughter Nicole Stevens was hired as the Communications and Administrative Director.
Worried that you’re too old to make a difference?
It Begins With One. Will That One Be You . . .