by Linda Matthews
In the fall of 2019, we were all going about our lives and were completely unaware of what was to come. A friend mentioned that there was going to be a new group starting in the Olean area that was part of the Village to Village movement. She told me that she thought I might find it interesting and said that it was going to be a social organization that would help to connect people over 50 to activities and social support systems. I was curious but did not hear any more about it for a few months. Then, Covid arrived and tore our usual life activities apart. In the midst of Covid, I received a call suggesting that I might want to get involved with the Enchanted Mountains Village. The more I learned about it, the more interested I became. I decided that I needed to know more and talked to a few of the people who were getting it started.
Eventually, I was invited to be on the Board of Directors. Just about that time, Covid got really bad and many of us were very isolated. Since we could not have group social events, EMV really stepped up and started having Zoom socials, Zoom presentations, Zoom yoga, Zoom book reviews, and so many other things. It was wonderful to look forward to the weekly presentations and to meet new people. It really helped with the isolation that Covid had imposed. As time progressed, working with the EMV folks, there were many ways that I found I could use some of the skills that had been part of my work life. It felt good to be productive and to be part of an organization that has such a positive outlook and function.
After officially becoming a non-profit organization, EMV really grew a lot. A volunteer list was developed and a directory of professional service providers was put together based on the recommendations of the members. Little did I know, at the time those lists were being developed, how useful that would be. One day, my shower stopped working. I called a plumbing service that I had used before and someone came to look at the problem. I had to pay $96 for the estimate and was told that the work was going to be around $1,100 and would involve cutting a significant hole in my wall. Wow! I did not expect that. While complaining to another EMV board director about the high cost of getting this work done and the vague feeling I had that I was being taken advantage of, she gave me a name from our providers list and suggested I call him. I followed up on that and had an incredible outcome. For less than $100, the shower was fixed, works well, and there's no hole in the wall. My initial suspicion was confirmed. Somebody thought I was too naïve to realize I was being taken advantage of. The power of this community really protected me.