Jason Gretencord: A volunteer with a smile!
When Jason Gretencord started volunteering for the Sisters of Providence, he worked with the Congregation’s Mission Advancement Department on various tasks.
Over time, Mission Advancement’s Casey Kellum learned Jason had an interest in taking photos.
“I found out he LOVES to take photos,” Casey said. “The first time I told him he could use one of our cameras was an adorable moment. Of course, you would only think it was adorable if you knew Jason.
“He left the building and came back about 10 minutes later. I asked why he was back so soon. He began to explain, in his very monotone voice with no smile, ‘Well, I didn’t want you to think I was going to steal your camera. So I only went across the street and took photos of a tree.’ I laughed and told him I had no worries!”
Casey explained as Jason became more comfortable with the camera, she could tell how much he enjoyed taking photos.
“He would walk around campus and take the most beautiful photos,” Casey said. “I used a couple of his photos in our program book. After I showed him, he was very joyful and surprised.
“Taking photos made him smile!”
Speaking of Jason’s smile, Sister Becky Keller, who ministers as the Congregation’s volunteer coordinator, said he is “very conscientious about completing the jobs he is asked to do. He is a gentle and caring young man … with a great smile!”
No matter what the task, Jason would always come to the Woods to help in any way possible and always find something to smile about.
Prior to coming to the Woods, Jason determined that volunteering for the Sisters of Providence or any other organization would help him “augment” his resume while obtaining the necessary professional skills he would need when entering the workforce.
“I sought openings in the United Way, Union Hospital and Vigo County Public Library, but nothing was available at the time,” Jason said. “One of my co-religionists suggested the Sisters of Providence.
“After contacting them, I was interviewed by Sister Becky Keller, who took me on a tour of the facilities. Surveying the various tasks and structures of the religious community, I wondered where I would be assigned.”
Narie Suh, who works in the Mission Advancement Department, said Jason’s help was invaluable.
“I remember when he was working on putting some information together to create the Sister Profiles on our website,” Narie said. “He got to read a lot of the sister’s stories of those who are still living and working and also who are deceased.
“He told me how impressed he was to read the sister’s stories, especially what and how much each sister had or has done and how educated they are or were. I could tell he was genuinely inspired by their works and touched by them.”
Narie added that Jason’s work ethic is essential to helping the department further the Congregation’s needs.
“Anyone who had any project for him to help in our office would agree with me that he works very hard,” Narie said. “He is always in the office before time and is a speedy learner and accomplishes so much.”
During his time volunteering for the Congregation, Jason said he was pleased he was able to offer assistance.
“I enjoyed the idea of aiding the mission of the Sisters of Providence, and the people were constantly pleasant,” Jason said. “Sometimes, Sister Becky would stop by to say hello, and as the weeks passed, the other employees started treating me like a regular fixture. They even celebrated my birthday. It doubled as a going-away party, as I had gotten a job that occupied much of my time.”
Jason had to leave his volunteer position due to a job he received but came back to help out in March 2020. However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, he hasn’t been able to offer his expertise. Still, he said he has started discerning his own vocation in the world and what it may be.
“I remembered the sense of spiritual and emotional attunement imparted by my volunteer work, and have approached the Sisters of Providence to see whether they needed any more help,” he said.
What a wonderful volunteer and such an uplifting story! Thank you, Jason, for sharing your talent and your life with us!