Mary Lou Warren has been a champion of the elderly for the past 23 years. She serves on numerous boards and committees that enhance programs geared toward senior citizens. She volunteers hours of one-on-one service to the Foster Parent Program in Great Bend. She coordinates Meals on Wheels for Great Bend, Hoisington and Ellinwood. In addition to coordinating the program, she is also a driver whenever volunteers are not able to assume their responsibilities. In addition, Warren works with the Historical Society by acting as a hostess and program director.
This, however, is not the end of Warren’s resume of service. She initiated Rural Family Friends, and she volunteered to sit with babies in the hospital. Her extensive networking skills and contacts have earned her the title of “the person to contact” if you need information or assistance with regards to elderly programs. She is aware of the government cut backs in social services and how important it is for communities to be aware of the special needs of the elderly. Their plight is different; they are living on fixed incomes, but they need continual service and sometimes fall through the cracks. She makes sure the elderly in her community get a visit when they need company, a drive to the grocery store when needed, or a trip to the hospital or doctor’s office for set appointments.
In 1982, the Business and Professional Women honored her as their Woman of the year due to her outstanding accomplishments in the community. She was also appointed to the White House Conference on Aging during the same year. Though her work is not done for recognition or praise, these awards encourage her.
Warren also serves as a volunteer to the SCHICK program, which provides counseling for the elderly. They are educated on Medicare, Medicaid and Drug Assistance programs. There is also a Community Service Advisor available to assist them in knowing what programs are available to them. She helped to write a grant for the Senior Center and initiated several programs in Barton County: Every One Able to Read By Sharing (EARS), Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers, Meals on Wheels, Alzheimer’s Support Group, Vouchers for Medical Transportation, and Volunteer Income Tax Training. These programs provide continual service as a result of her fund raising efforts, grant requests, and her solicitations to local programs and the government.
Mary Lou Warren is a hero to many in Great Bend. Through her work and dedication, many are able to receive appropriate medical care and prescriptions as well as live a more comfortable life.