BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Betty McPherson loves volunteering at Habitat for Humanity so much, she even showed up recently on her birthday — her 90th birthday.
McPherson, who has volunteered at the Coastal Fairfield County offices for nearly 30 years, is matter-of-fact when asked why she continues her service to others into her 10th decade.
“It keeps me young,” she said. “It keeps me going. It makes my day.”
The longtime Shelton resident was inspired to join the cause in the 1980s, when Millard Fuller, the organization’s founder, spoke at McPherson’s congregation, First Presbyterian Church of Fairfield.
“I just couldn’t imagine these people living in these dumps,” she said. “So I wanted to help.”
McPherson, who was nearing retirement age at the time, started working on Habitat homes, doing everything from painting walls to moving bricks.
An active woman whose intriguing resumé includes a stint at the Department of Justice, as a nurse and working in anesthesiology from New York to Minnesota, McPherson is no stranger to hard work. But she knew when it was time to put her Habitat hammer down.
“My last job was putting insulation in a ceiling,” she said, shaking her head and laughing. “I said, ‘That’s it!’”
From there, she moved into the organization’s offices, doing clerical work and helping wherever she can each Wednesday — “weather permitting.”
The whole staff at Habitat CFC surprised McPherson with a birthday party a few weeks ago, thanking her for her continued service.
“Betty understands the importance of a stable, decent home for every family,” said Chief Executive Officer Stuart Adelberg. “She recognizes the value of volunteers, partner families, donors and others coming together to build simple, energy-efficient, high-quality homes.”
Volunteering isn’t the only thing McPherson is keeping up with in her 90s. She recently renewer her driver’s license for five years and updated her passport.
When asked whether that will help her to visit her family in Scotland, the lifelong bachelorette shook her head.
“No,” she said. “I use Skype.”