ELK COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – Remarkable, thoughtful and selfless are a few of the adjectives Linda Shaffer’s five kids used when asked to describe their mom who goes above and beyond in the community.
“My mom is a servant, a leader,” Linda’s daughter Krista Rogers said proudly.
However, Linda simply shrugged and said, “I’m just an ordinary guy.”
Others disagree, including her husband of over 50 years, Kenneth Shaffer. He describes his wife as special, always going above and beyond for others at all times. Despite wanting to tell her to slow down every once in a while, Kenneth said he learned, “You can’t.”
Linda retired in 2019, though you’d never know it. She loves to keep on going.
Three days a week you’ll find her volunteering at the recycling center. Coordinator Bekki Titchner said Linda is one of their most dedicated volunteers.
“And I don’t just say that,” Bekki said. “She will get like stickers and things like that for schools, she will collect large print books for the senior center, as well as military books for the World War II Museum.”
Additionally, Linda volunteers with Meals on Wheels, where she goes the extra mile again.
“Mom sees the potential in everything, so we start a few hours beforehand, she gets together some holiday things because some holiday is coming up,” Krista said. “She bakes cookies, puts together a little craft and then we go to the senior center, pick up the food…and then mom says here you take this to the door. And oh here’s a dog biscuit for the dog, and it just snowed so while you’re doing that I’m going to shovel the walk and put some salt down and make sure they’re getting their mail.”
According to Krista, this is the norm for every single house.
“And the amazing thing is, is she wouldn’t do any other way. You can’t tell her not to do all of that.”
It’s safe to say that when Linda sees a need, she’s going to meet it. An example of this is when she noticed an abandoned building in downtown Johnsonburg that was in desperate need of some weeding.
“She knew nobody was going to and she thought it looked like an eyesore and so she decided that she was going to take care of it,” Linda’s daughter Shannon said. “So just quietly she took her garden tools down there and took care of that building. Nobody asked her to, there was no fanfare around it. It was just I need to do this to make our community look better. And that’s mom for you in a nutshell. She’s amazing.”
Linda keeps her community looking nice in more ways than one. Her son Grant said his mom is always pulling over and picking up litter no matter how small or big.
“She’ll call and say there’s a recliner laying over the bank that she can’t get up and it’s on the side of a cliff, so me and a neighbor will go out there and drag it up the bank or a tire or refrigerator and she tries until she can’t get it and then she’ll call.”
Grant said what he admires most about his mom is that she does all of these things quietly.
However, Linda gets loud for people’s birthdays. To help her remember everyone’s big day, Linda’s son Hank said she keeps a birthday calendar.
“I think it’s from the ’70s, it’s her birthday calendar. She has everybody’s birthday written on it in at least the three surrounding counties and everybody else that’s ever come into her life.”
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Linda said the tradition of celebrating others started years ago when someone she worked with turned 21. She said she bought cake and ice cream and even hung posters on the wall.
“But I thought, you can’t just do it for one!”
This mindset snowballed into Linda going all out for everyone.
Far from a chore, Linda said doing things for others makes her happy.
“I get a lot from it, it’s a two-way street. And I probably get much or more out of it than they do. So maybe that’s part of it.”
When asked about the timeline for when she does see herself slowing down, Linda said there is none.
“I’ll keep doing it as long as I can. I’m happy with that. I just enjoy doing it.”