Vineyard Village at Home recently announced in a press release that Susie Wallo has been named the recipient of the Spirit of the Vineyard Award for 2019. A celebration and award ceremony will be held at the P.A. Club on Tuesday, Dec. 3, from 5 to 7 pm.
Wallo has volunteered for various charitable organizations for more than 32 years. When her daughter was 4 years old, Wallo introduced her to the Red Stocking Fund. She didn’t want her to think that Christmas was all about getting gifts. Her daughter made fast friends with Ida Levine, owner of Vineyard Dry Goods, a forerunner of the likes of LeRoux at Home, and joyfully picked out gifts for children on the Red Stocking Fund list. In time, Wallo came to volunteer, has served as treasurer, and is now co-chair of the Red Stocking Fund with Sandy Joyce. It is almost a full-time job during November and December, the release states, getting lists of needs, shopping, wrapping gifts, and distributing bags of goodies for over 300 children, with food, clothing, and toys, while keeping the entire system highly confidential.
Susie is also a regular volunteer driver for Vineyard Village aAt Home. She goes to the Post Office to get and deliver mail weekly to a member in Edgartown, and has established a close friendship with her. If there’s a need for drivers for others, she readily jumps in and makes sure our elders get where they want to go on the Island.
Twentysome years ago, the Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank established a banking program for the Island elementary schools. From the beginning, Wallo has been the volunteer helping with the financial education of children from kindergarten to the eighth grade. Initially, the students type their first names into a computer and make deposits, learning not only about banking but also getting familiar with computers; gradually, they add their last name, and become even more sophisticated in banking procedures.
Wallo is on the board of the Friends of Oak Bluffs, working to enhance the visual attractiveness of the town, and she volunteers with the M.V. Cancer Support group during their “Daffodil Days” efforts. These funds are available to year-round Islanders with cancer to meet emergency and temporary expenses associated with their treatment.
Wallo is equally active and helpful at her church. She is among a group of volunteers who do the flowers for Sunday services at Good Shepherd Parish, and she is a lector, Eucharistic minister, and acolyte at funerals. Father Michael Nagle joked that no one could die or be buried during the two weeks Susie was away on vacation.
The Massachusetts Association of Realtors recently recognized Wallo with the Good Neighbor Award. This award came with a $1,500 donation to the Red Stocking Fund, and enters her in the contest for a national award, which, if she receives it, will bring a further $10,000 to the Red Stocking Fund.
When told that she was this year’s recipient of the Spirit of the Vineyard Award, Wallo emotionally replied, “I am blessed. I live my life by the golden rule.”