Connecticut’s Hartford communities have been blessed by the passion and commitment of Mary Ann McElhiney to help those in need. She has volunteered hundreds of hours of her time on a yearly basis to local nonprofit organizations. She is an inspiration and civic leader to those around her; putting the needs of others before her own and demanding nothing but the best for the organization she serves.
Marisol Rodriguez-Colon, who works with the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, is the first to admit that everyone depends on Mary Ann. Working with ill and injured children, every situation is different and “she has the special ability to understand the needs of the families and children she supports on the weekly basis.” It is the Children’s Medical Center that Mary Ann is a buddy to children in need, filling the gaps of time when their parents are unable to be by their sides. Many children are burdened with extensive medical equipment; but with love, attention and sometimes just a good cuddle, Mary Ann strives to make them feel normal and alive.
Mary Ann’s compassion stretches to numerous other organizations and she rightfully displays a sense of pride and accomplishment in every volunteer hour she gives. She is an active member of the Aetna Volunteer Council, participating in many Aetna-sponsored events such as the Connecticut Food Bank’s turkey drive for families in need. She has participated in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, worked at the Traveler’s Championships concession stand, volunteered for a Day of Caring, sold pins for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign, filled backpacks with school supplies for Families in Crisis and has given her time to the American Red Cross Blood Drive. Also, she dedicates one day a month to delivering Meals on Wheels and serves as a contact to collect funds for National Accounts monthly Dress Down for a Cause.
Mary Ann is an inspiration and true leader to those around her, organizing her coworkers service for many efforts, including the sponsorship of a family for Christmas through the Women’s and Children’s Abuse Shelter. In 2006 she served as the project leader and contact for an Aetna-sponsored diaper drive to benefit the New Haven Diaper Bank, helping to collect over 1,400 diapers/wipes for the local charity and other families it serves. Joanne Goldblum, the New Haven’s Diaper Bank president said, Mary Ann has made quite an impression, going above and beyond the expectations of a volunteer. “She’s just got that spark that is contagious…you can really see that she is there for the right reasons, enjoying doing good for her community.”
According to fellow Aetna employee Beth Kostka, if it wasn’t for Mary Ann’s leadership, guidance and coordinating of events, Aetna’s Middletown campus would not have as many volunteers as it does today. She is committed and respected for her tireless efforts to be of service to her community.