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Thoughts from Our Volunteer of the Year Maureen Cavanaugh

In April 2009 I joined Interfaith Caregivers as a volunteer after retiring from American Express

Corporate Travel. During my tenure at American Express, I worked in operations and finished in account management for corporate clients. This gave me the opportunity to explore the world. I have always enjoyed traveling and by the time I retired I had been around the world twice working with clients.

Volunteering is one of the greatest and most rewarding pleasures in my life. Being able to help people brings me joy.

My first career involved working ten years for the United States Navy at the Philadelphia Naval Base. During this time, I was in DaNang Vietnam from January 1967 till 1968. I was part of a group of 10 Americans who hired and trained local Vietnamese to take positions that had been performed by the American Navy Seals and regular Navy personnel. I was on a diplomatic passport because the Navy did not have female personnel in that area. I was awarded the American Civilian Service Award from the Secretary of the Navy for my work. I have always cherished my award and medal bestowed to me.

photo of volunteer Maureen Cavanaugh and Larissa Willison
Maureen Cavanaugh pictured with Interfaith Caregivers Executive Director Larissa Willison

My next adventure was the bar and restaurant I owned at 23rd and Pine Streets in Philadelphia. For ten years I ran Cavanaugh’s Fitler Square Tavern. The bar and Filter Square Park, bear the name of a popular Philadelphia mayor from the 1880’s, Edwin Fitler. I served on the Fitler Square Park Board of Directors as we took over the management of the park from the city. Some of our greatest accomplishments were that we added a fountain from the Victorian period as well as bronze turtle statues, new benches, new lamps, and a fence. The Park has been enjoyed by many families since the 1970s and continues to be a favorite spot in the city.

While volunteering for Interfaith I spent four and a half years attending St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. I was awarded a bachelor’s degree in 2015. Maryann Bigelow and Rosemary Loiseau were so helpful in keeping my spirits up when I wasn’t sure I could make it.

Volunteering is one of the greatest and most rewarding pleasures in my life. Being able to help people brings me joy. For the past five years I have been volunteering at Virtua Hospital in Voorhees.

While I never married or had children of my own, my two sisters married and let me enjoy their children. I have Six nephews, two nieces, and nine grandnephews and grandnieces.


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