If you’ve ever received help from a charitable organization in Charleston, it would not be unreasonable to think June Griggs somehow might have been involved.
Griggs, who began volunteering 47 years ago, now puts in 25 to 30 hours a week.
Much of the 75-year-old North Charleston resident’s assistance is focused on airmen and their dependents, but many in the broader Charleston community, and some overseas benefit, too.
Some of the people she serves are those found in the lunch line at TriCounty Family Ministries in North Charleston. “June has always had a good heart for service,” says Sue Hanshaw, executive director of the organization. “She is very caring and loving.”
Griggs, who wears her trademark red hat with a ladybug on it when serving, has a personal relationship with the clients, Hanshaw says.
Those who eat at TriCounty Family Ministries have few opportunities to make decisions about their lives, Hanshaw says. Griggs always gives them the chance to decide on their dessert. A small decision such as whether to have chocolate or vanilla can be a big thing to those with little control over their lives.
“She certainly is an asset to TriCounty Family Ministries,” Hanshaw says.
While Griggs always has several volunteer projects on her plate, she sometimes pauses for activities that are just plain fun.
She skydived from 10,000 feet on her 70th and 75th birthdays. She also rolled at the St. George Grits Festival, where she managed to jam 16 pounds of grits into her homemade red baggy pants and hooded cape in 10 seconds.
How she got started
Volunteering has been a big part of her life since Peter Griggs, her husband, served on an Air Force flight crew that took him away from home, and her children spent their days in school. His career and their school days are long over, but her volunteering continues.
On any given day, she could work in a consignment shop to benefit those in need, tutor children with reading difficulties, shelve library books and provide assistance to those navigating Joint Base Charleston’s clinic. It might also be her day to respond to a call to help kids with cancer, cleft palates or living in abject poverty overseas.
“I do so many different things that it never becomes dull,” Griggs says. “I do something different every day.”
A favorite volunteer activity is tutoring children with reading disabilities at Lambs Elementary School, where she has helped out for 35 years.
“When school is out, I’m antsy for school to start again,” Griggs says. “I have one child I’ve worked with since kindergarten. He could not read. He’s now in the fifth grade and will go to the Military Magnet (Academy) once it starts again. He’s in the gifted and talented program.”
Volunteering a motivator
As a member of Team Charleston Spouses Club, Griggs helps raise scholarship funds for military dependents through its consignment shop sales and annual auction.
She established the local Airmen’s Attic, where service personnel and dependents can get food, children’s clothing, furniture, electronics and other items free. She also is a member of the Protestant Women of the Chapel ministry, which conducts a variety of programs locally and internationally to help those in need.
Through these and other organizations, she’s helped provide everything from toiletries for people in the United States to livestock for those overseas.
When will she stop?
“Probably when I get so old I can’t do it anymore,” Griggs says.
Volunteering, she says, gives her a reason to get up and out of the house in the mornings.
For her efforts, Griggs has received numerous awards, including Military Enlisted Wife of the Year (Charleston Air Force Base), American Red Cross Clara Barton Award (Charleston Air Force Base), North Charleston Citizen of the Year and Senior Volunteer of the Year for Charleston County.
Reach Wevonneda Minis at 937-5705.