Oct. 25, 1914, in Four Oaks, NC, Vida Mae Hill was born. One hundred years later, approximately 300 members and staff of Advent Christian Village filled ACV’s Rumph Dining Room to celebrate Vida’s 100th birthday. But it was more than Vida’s turning 100 that made the event so special; it is the fact that Vida has spent almost 35 years selflessly serving Advent Christian Village as a faithful volunteer.
Vida first heard about Advent Christian Village as a child growing up in Barbour’s Chapel Advent Christian Church near Four Oaks. Every month that had a fifth Sunday, her church participated in Fifth Sunday Offerings that go to the ministries of ACV. In 1980, ACV became Vida’s home. Growing up on a farm, where hard work was the order of each day, she did not intend to spend her retirement years sitting in a rocking chair.
Having been taught to sew by her mother, Vida had made all her own clothes for decades. Early on as a Village member, even before the Village Square was built, she found her niche of service working as a seamstress for “Arts and Crafts.” When the Village Square was finished and the Rustic Shop opened in 1983, it became her headquarters and she took on the role permanently. She maintains that post today, putting in many hours each week. Vida was honored at the 2011 Volunteer Recognition Reception for 30 years of volunteer service to Advent Christian Village. It’s looking more and more like she’ll be honored for 35 years before long.
“The Village is a wonderful place. I wouldn’t live anywhere else,” Vida says. “My volunteer work is another way for me to contribute, but I also do it so that I can be with people and have something worthwhile to do. If you don’t have enough to do, you feel every little ache and pain more. If I didn’t do this, I’d be climbing the walls. I believe volunteering keeps me healthier and helps me stay positive.”
Vida’s skills are in great demand. She does most of the garment alterations that come into the Rustic Shop, with one stipulation—she does not do zippers. They did not use zippers when her mother taught her to sew, so any job requiring them is willingly passed on to others.
A popular item for sale at the Rustic Shop is the handmade quilts. Vida oversees the entire quilting process and she is a large part of the process herself. She sews coordinating fabrics together into various patterns that make the top of the quilts. She works with others to get each quilt into the frame for quilting. Other volunteers do the actual quilting, and then Vida sews the binding around the edge, completing each quilt. Baby quilts are another best seller at the Rustic shop and Vida puts those together, too. These, along with many other items handcrafted by Village residents are sold at the Rustic Shop, with the proceeds going to benefit the ministries of ACV.
Vida’s fellow volunteers appreciate her also. One co-worker said, “She is the heart and soul of the Rustic Shop! You won’t find a more dedicated, reliable worker. Monday through Saturday from 1:00-5:00, without fail, you’ll find Vida working at the shop, and she often takes work home, too. She’s still sharp as a tack. She is such an inspiration to the rest of us.”
The crowd that gathered on Oct. 25 was lively. Many hugs were given and Vida’s smile brightened the room. She may not like to be in the spotlight, but it was evident that she appreciated the recognition of her special day.
The program was put together with the help of The Village Church and ACV’s Dining Services. Vida’s love of music was evident: Besides a short hymn sing, the program included “Vida, this is your life in music,” by Dick Grillo; a duet; and a trio. Village President Craig Carter gave a short PowerPoint presentation about Vida’s life and Pastor Tim Setzer asked for God to continue to bless Vida with a heartfelt prayer. Several of Vida’s family members were able to attend the celebration, and they presented Vida with a large collage of family photos to show their love of her.
It’s because of people like Vida that Advent Christian Village was able to celebrate its 100th anniversary last year. Without the generous efforts of volunteers and donors, ACV would not have been able to serve so many through the years. Thank you and congratulations, Vida!