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Forest Park woman helping fellow seniors

By Justin Reedy

When Tallulah Blair retired from her job in the financial industry after nearly 30 years, she wasn't sure what she wanted to do, but she knew she didn't want to get paid for it.

So Blair, now 82, turned to volunteer work for charitable organizations to stay busy.

"I thought, I don't want to do anything I'd get paid to do," Blair said. "I would just do things because I wanted to do them."

She started by working for the American Cancer Society, taking patient information over the phone.

"I liked that," said Blair, a Forest Park resident. "You had personal contact with the people who really needed help."

Her work branched out into other areas, including working once a week with Samaritans Together, a local non-profit organization that helps low-income Clayton County residents find social services. She also performed visitation for homebound or shut-in church members of Forest Park Methodist Church.

But what many people know Blair for is her work at Meals on Wheels, a program in which lunchtime meals are delivered to homebound senior citizens. Blair retired recently from Meals on Wheels, after delivering lunches to Forest Park residents for 19 years n one of the longest tenures ever for a volunteer in the Clayton County program.

For Blair, Meals on Wheels offered a good way to help fellow senior citizens who weren't able to get around as well as she could.

"It was a place where I felt like I was serving somebody where I could do some good," she said. "We're often the only people they talk to during the day. They just make you feel so welcome. It's a fun job."

Blair has been able to meet some interesting people, as well, including a woman at an apartment complex in Forest Park who worked as a field hand when she was younger and never learned to read, but was able to put all of her children through college. Another man she delivered to on her route couldn't write, so she did more than just take him a meal once a week.

"Every month, we'd go pay his bills for him," Blair remembered, a smile coming to her face.

Now that she has retired from most of her volunteer work n she still does occasional church visitations n Blair will have plenty of time for her favorite hobby: reading. She reads lots of novels, all of which she says are good, but asked about her favorite book she doesn't hesitate.

"The Bible," she proclaims. "That's my morning breakfast reading. I'm not fanatically religious at all, but that's by far my favorite book."