Volunteers make the difference to non-profits

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Mesquite is a city full of civic organizations and non-profit groups. These groups offer many retirees a plethora of volunteer opportunities to keep them active and involved in their community after retirement.

Each of these organizations and groups enrich the community of Mesquite in many ways, from feeding the homebound elderly to providing cultural experiences for the Virgin Valley residents.

Janet McDonald is one of Mesquite’s volunteers who has been around the ‘volunteer block’ a time or two, so to speak.MLN-Mcdonaldoct16-14

McDonald is currently working with the Virgin Valley Theatre Group and is a very active member of the board of directors and in productions.  McDonald has immersed herself in many different aspects from fundraising and marketing on the board level to being both Stage Manager and Prop Master for the VVTG’s upcoming production of Nana’s Naughty Knickers, which opens on October 17 at the Mesquite Community Theatre.

McDonald retired as a Lt. Colonel from the Air Force after 23 years and then spent 20 years as a Sergeant with the Colorado Springs Police Department.

After a very active and structured 43 year career McDonald moved to Mesquite in November of 2004 and discovered she had two speeds, go and dead and since she still had a pulse she decided to prolong the latter by doing as much of the former as possible.

McDonald began her volunteer career with the United Nations prior to moving to Mesquite where she served as a Press Secretary to the Police Commission. So when it came to putting things in gear, McDonald ironically approached one of the most obvious choices for someone with her particular background, the Salvation Army Mesquite, where she worked with the car seat program.  Her choices didn’t stop there. McDonald’s love of four-legged, furry people drove her to volunteer with the Mesquite Animal Shelter; she still fosters and pet sits as much as she’s able.  She spent several years with another obvious choice, the Mesquite Volunteer Police Department where she dutifully controlled both vehicle and pedestrian traffic safely seeing all residents and visitors across the busy streets during many events around the city.

McDonald’s choice of organizations to volunteer for took an unexpected turn in the fall of 2012, McDonald herself is unsure of exactly how she was drawn in to working with the Virgin Valley Theatre Group or by whom but she does remember the first production she took part in, Radio Gals, in which McDonald played the character “America”.

Reflecting on the past, McDonald recalls that she worked behind the scenes and on stage for many of the Community Christmas Concerts with Larry LeMieux and for the Greater Mesquite Arts Foundation. But, her need to “go or die” wasn’t satisfied with only one or two concerts or opportunities a year and she enjoyed the stage and theatre quite a bit.  She believes that is what eventually brought her more steadily into the Virgin Valley Theatre Group or, as she says, “something like that”.

It is volunteers like McDonald that keep the organizations and non-profits running in Mesquite and the members of the Virgin Valley Theatre Group express a great deal of gratitude for her.  They say they are grateful for the experience and unquestionable work ethic she brings to each and every task she takes on from grant writing to pounding nails; McDonald does it all and does it quite well.

The Virgin Valley Theatre Group board members feel that McDonald is a great asset and somebody they can count on to help bring the VVTG into the future with a much more solid foundation and structure.

Mesquite residents certainly have the opportunity to see McDonald’s work in action with the VVTG’s season opener Nana’s Naughty Knickers.  The props are outrageous, fun and the set is a work of art. The execution of the comedy that this show is full of requires the coordination and structure for both crew and actors which is where McDonald shines.

Nana’s Naughty Knickers is playing at the Mesquite Community Theatre, 150 N. Yucca Street on October 17, 18, 24, 25, 31 and November 1 at 7 p.m. or on October 26 at 2 p.m.  Tickets are $15 and available at Danielle’s Chocolates, Mesquite Chamber of Commerce, Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery or their newest outlet, Have Boutique Will Travel or you can save money by purchasing a set of season tickets for only $40 by contacting the VVTG at vvtheatre@gmail.com.

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