CONNEAUT â€” For several years, Ann Wiley of Conneaut has been able to dovetail work and volunteerism around a common purpose.
Operating from an office in her home, Wiley has been the head of her own insurance business for 35 years, specializing in policies for senior citizens. Many of the causes that occupy her off-hours are also geared to people with a few decades of living under their belts.
She has been a presence at Ashtabulaâ€™s Center for Active Living (formerly the cityâ€™s Senior Citizen Center) for 30 years, and for the past 15 years has been a member of the board. Wiley also assisted the now-defunct Loving Equally All Families program, a faith-based initiative that rounded up workers to perform small repair projects for needy homeowners.
Wiley also works at D-Day Conneaut, the massive World War II re-enactmentÂ that takes placeÂ each August at Conneaut Township Park. For at least seven years, she â€” along with other New Leaf United Methodist Church members â€” can be found at the hospitality tent, the hub for aging military veterans who visit the event.
The insurance business tends to slow in the summer, about the same time activity intensifies for D-Day Conneaut, Wiley said. Itâ€™s good timingÂ as theÂ seasonal lull also provides Wiley a chance to pack extra charity work onto her calendar.
â€œI can do more volunteerism (in the summer),â€ she said.
For folks who want to do likewise, D-Day Conneaut is a good place to start, Wiley said.
â€œ(The event) is always looking for help and there are lots of opportunities,â€ she said.
Wiley and her husband, Bill, also participate in annual church missions to the Carolinas to help residents there recover from hurricanes.
Including age-based help programs wasnâ€™t deliberate, Wiley said, but it certainly fills a need in the area. There are plenty of local residents entering their golden years who appreciate a hand, insurance-wise and otherwise.
â€œSo many (in the region) are turning 65 years old,â€ Wiley said. â€œThereâ€™s always a need to help seniors, especially single women.â€
Requests for help are regularly received at New Leaf and the Ashtabula Center for Active Living, she said.
Wileyâ€™s interest in community service began as a young mother.
â€œWhen the kids were young, I would volunteer in things they were active in,â€ she said.
Running her own business enables her to continue and expand her civic work.
â€œBeing self-employed gives me flexibility,â€ Wiley said. â€œIâ€™m able to work around a schedule. That really helps.â€
A familyÂ who understands that drive was also a blessing.
â€œMy family is very supportive,â€Â she said.
Wiley gives special credit to her husband, who is often a co-worker at the many functions she assists.
â€œBill is there beside me,â€ she said. â€œHe helps us stay active.â€