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Retirement Not For Civitan Club Honoree Estelle McCadden

Veneda Leslie, member of Good Samaritan Committee, presents Estelle McCadden the well-deserved Good Samaritan Award.

Most people think of retirement as a time to slow down and relax, but not Estelle McCadden.  The 84-year-old neighborhood advocate and activist is this year’s winner of the Civitan Club of Roanoke’s Good Samaritan award. McCadden was honored at a luncheon at Sunnybrook Inn last Monday with a plaque, a watch, and 0 that will be donated to a charity of her choice.

McCadden has a lifetime legacy of service to her neighborhood, Roanoke schools, and to her faith.

She moved to Roanoke in the 1940’s when her father was the pastor of Jerusalem Baptist Church.  She still attends the Norfolk Avenue church her father built, and directs a choir named for him.  McCadden was employed by the Roanoke City Schools for 29 years as a Home Economics, Science, and Culinary Arts teacher.

Neighborhood Services Coordinator Bob Clement nominated McCadden for the award.  In the nomination letter, he pointed out numerous activities she has been involved in and how she’s demonstrated her commitment to Roanoke’s neighborhoods, citizens, and community over the years.  His letter states that, [she] “currently serves as the President of her neighborhood’s organization, the Melrose-Rugby Neighborhood Forum, Inc. which she co-founded in the early 1990’s.  She also helped to organize and presently co-chairs Roanoke’s Presidents’ Council, a coalition of city neighborhood organizations and watch group presidents who share ideas and work together to find solutions to local needs.”

Ten years ago, McCadden created the annual Virginia Statewide Neighborhood Conference which holds a yearly meeting for neighborhood leaders to discuss what works in their cities and how they can incorporate that into other localities.  This year’s conference will be held September 23rd through the 25th at the Hotel Roanoke. She’s asked for a portion of the $500 cash award to be given to youth so they can attend the conference.

Being honored is nothing new for McCadden.  She was chosen Roanoke’s Mother of the year for Community Affairs in 1994 and in 2007 was chosen by the YWCA as their recipient of the Women of Achievement Award for Volunteerism.  She was also Roanoke’s 2008 Citizen of the Year.

McCadden says “you just can’t sit in an easy chair when you retire because you won’t live long.”  She believes in staying involved, especially where youth are concerned.  “All you have to do is believe that it is something that needs to be done and that you can do it if you try.”

“As long as you are able to do things for others, keep on doing it.  You might slow down but yet still you can keep on doing something.  You can help someone else.”  Her 16-year-old grandson remarked just last week that he thought his grandmother had retired.  “I said, ‘no, son, I got to keep in contact with you and know what’s going on.'”

McCadden does slow down enough for a yearly vacation.  But when she vacations, she rents a 15-passenger bus and takes her extended family to various theme parks around the Eastern U. S.

“It’s something that I love doing – helping others.”  And, she says, if she can find the time, she might even join the Civitan Club.

By Beverly Amsler
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