Elsie Hamm was recognized earlier this week at Portage MCC for 40 years with the organization, and says she is thankful that her health has allowed her to continue for so many years.

"MCC means serving and helping those in need here, and abroad, and promoting reusing things instead of them going in the garbage. It's been in my life forever."

Elsie had many jobs, from teaching to working at a bookstore. There was always one constant: Portage MCC. 

"I mean, we started in a very, very small building. We sorted right in the store because we didn't have a back room, and oh, it's just grown. It's wonderful." 

Born in 1942, Elsie says her relationship with the organization has helped shape her life.

"We're like a team, right? We work together, and if one person's missing, then we miss them."

Judie Mann, volunteer coordinator, explains that the store was excited to celebrate 40 years with the volunteer of the hour.

File Photo.Judie Mann, volunteer coordinator at Portage MCC.

"Elsie has been with us since the beginning. Our store opened on November 1st of 1983. We wouldn't be here without volunteers. And I feel really privileged to work here and to work with the volunteers, support and recruit them. It's a rather fun place to be working."

Mann adds that she has not heard of many people celebrating 40 years with the same organization.

"She is a driving force here. Her energy is astounding, and her knowledge base is fabulous. It's great to have her here."

Kevin Hamm, son of Elsie and General Manager of Portage MCC, notes that his mom has been an inspiration to him.

File Photo.

"I got to know this store through her," he said with a smile. "Way to go, Mom. I love you." 

Elsie says she will continue giving her time to MCC as long as possible.

"I don't like praise. We do it for the Lord, right? That's what we do it for." 

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