By Sue Starkweather Miller (81’), Albion Alumni Foundation Vice-President
“Once a Purple Eagle, Always a Purple Eagle.” If you are an Albion Alum, I am sure this is a very familiar saying. But have you ever tried to name someone who you thought really exemplified what it means to be a Purple Eagle? Jean (Forder) Shervin, Class of 1952, immediately comes to my mind.
Jean is incredibly dedicated to her community. She has volunteered her time and energies at various local agencies through most of her life including the American Red Cross blood drives, Salvation Army, St. Vincent DePaul, Community Kitchen, Office for the Aging, Orleans County Historical Society and Supportive Care of Orleans/Hospice. In addition, she is very active in her church, Holy Family Parish, and serves on many committees and ministries. She is also a member (and former leader) of the Ladies of Charity and Catholic Daughters service organizations.
She joined the Alumni Foundation board in the early 1990’s and held the position of Foundation secretary for 13 years. She is still an active member and in my opinion the Queen of the Popcorn Machine! Let me explain – every year we sell popcorn at the homecoming football game. This year was no exception. Jean was the first person to arrive, working diligently on getting the popcorn machine ready for the big night. And she always comes prepared with all of the accessories we need to make things easier on everyone. She stands for hours on end making and serving popcorn and then cleaning when the night is done. We honestly don’t know what we would do without her!
In 2013, her efforts were recognized in a big way when she received the “Orleans County Outstanding Senior Award” by the Office of the Aging and in 2018 she was named Supportive Care of Orleans/Hospice Volunteer of the Year.
One would think that after giving so many years of service to the Albion community, she would decide it’s time for others to step up and help because she has done enough. But not Jean; she is always willing to volunteer her time. I believe service to others is truly in her blood. She is always there with her kind smile, quiet leadership, “can do” attitude and willingness to help out wherever she is needed.
Her daughter, Jan Shervin Albanese (76′), shared how selfless her mother is when she said, “Mom is very giving; always without expecting anything in return.”
Thank you, Jean, for showing all of us what it means to be a proud Purple Eagle, never giving up and always doing something for others to make their lives better. Your light shines bright in the hearts of everyone that knows and loves you.
I challenge my fellow Albion Alumni to do a little more for others in your community, wherever you live. Do it in Jean’s way – give without expecting anything in return.