Nancy Irwin & Mary Pat McSharry, 2017 MFi volunteer award nominees for “their” SWAP area
Nancy and Mary Pat were jointly nominated by Megan Sullivan, Chair of the town’s Transfer Station and Recycling Committee, for recognition by the Medfield Foundation volunteer awards for their work creating the current SWAP area at the Transfer Station. Nancy has been running the SWAP for eight years, Mary Pat for three and a half years.
This was Megan’s nomination of each:
Nancy Irwin should be Volunteer of the Year because of her tireless work at the SWAP area that benefits Medfield in many ways.
Nancy has done a wonderful job taking a dumping ground and turning it into a fully-functional swap/reuse area that is an example for other towns.
Since 2009 (or maybe 2010) Nancy has been working to make the swap area better and better. Before Nancy got involved, the SWAP area was a location where people dumped their cardboard boxes of belongings and people searched through them. At the end of the day, everything left was thrown away. With perseverance Nancy has steadily made improvements each yea r. In the first years volunteers would take things home at night and bring them back the next day so they might have another chance to be adopted by someone. And now we have a wonderful covered swap area where items are well organized for display, making them more likely to be taken home, and they can stay for up to 2 weeks. In addition, now when remaining items are moved out if they have not been adopted, Nancy and her crew of volunteers work very hard to make sure only the “truly trash” ends up on the tip floor and everything else is donated or recycled. Nancy has been the leading force behind these changes.
Nancy has worked hand in hand with the DPW to accomplish the changes at the SWAP. A few years ago Nancy joined the Transfer Station and Recycling Committee so the swap area is represented on this committee. She has been a dedicated member. The new tent and paving are the result of her requests to the DPW.
While Nancy has been a SWAP champion (aka Grand Poobah), there are many folks who volunteer to make the SWAP area run during the operating season. (I appreciate all of them too!) Nancy doesn’t hesitate to ask for help and has a great group of volunteers who make the whole area run. Her enthusiasm for the area is contagious. And now that the SWAP is well organized and well-run, new volunteers have come forward to help.
Keeping the volunteers and customers happy isn’t an easy job. Nancy hasn’t let the difficult conversations get in the way of making the SWAP a nice place for the community to gather and find a treasure and for the town to reduce the waste generated by offering an easy place for reuse.
More often than not from 9am – 4pm Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from May – October you will find Nancy Irwin at the SWAP area. She is a dedicated volunteer who generously donates her time to make the SWAP area a fun, pleasant and important place for Medfield and one that is key to reducing the amount of trash the town disposes of. I’ve heard from many folks that the SWAP is one of their favorite things about Medfield … and Nancy Irwin is to thank for that.
Mary Pat McSharry is an incredible volunteer for the SWAP area and for this reason I am nominating her for Volunteer of the Year. Mary Pat has been a partner with Nancy Irwin in the management of the SWAP area since September 2013. As Mary Pat explains, one afternoon she came by and dropped some items off and never left. Until that time she hadn’t even heard of the SWAP. And since then she’s been an amazing volunteer!
Mary Pat has been wonderful for the SWAP area. She is very creative and she is responsible for the logistics, the layout of the tent area and keeping things looking fresh. She is pleasant and helpful to people at the SWAP. In addition, her creativity shines through in the creations she makes from and suggests for items in the SWAP area. She’s always creating. The signs that indicate different areas in the SWAP area were made by Mary Pat from repurposed treasures. The new sign made from a headboard that is outside the mattress recycling container is one of Mary Pat’s. She heard of the need and offered to make the sign, repurposing something that was headed toward the trash and at the same time saving the Town the cost of purchasing a new sign.
Mary Pat has also personally donated supplies for the swap area. The tent that has been used for electronics the past 3 years was a personal donation. In addition, she has not (but should have!) asked for reimbursement for the supplies such as tape and lanyards that she has purchased to keep the swap area running smoothly. You can tell her heart is in the volunteer work she does for the SWAP. She would rather things be running properly than worry about who is paying for them.
Mary Pat is a tireless advocate for the SWAP and attends meetings of the Transfer Station and Recycling Committee when she can. She is committed to a well-running swap area and puts in the energy to make that happen.
More often than not from 9am – 4pm Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from May – October you will find Mary Pat McSharry at the SWAP area. Cold and rainy or in the middle of a heat wave, she is there. She is a dedicated volunteer who generously donates her time to make the SWAP area a fun, pleasant and important place for Medfield and one that is key to reducing the amount of trash the town disposes of. Mary Pat McSharry is one of the dedicated volunteers to thank for that.