MILLBURY, Mass.- "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." (Winston Churchill)
Giving and volunteering are two words normally associated with Carol Vulter who is limited to the amount of volunteering only by the number of hours in a day. Vulter has found what she describes as "a perfect place to volunteer," combining a love of history and the Asa Waters Mansion which is a hub of activity. It gives her the precise vehicle through which to give so much of herself.
Walking around Vulter's home in Millbury is like being in a history musuem in itself. She has numerous items and photos from different programs at the Asa Waters Mansion, many of them Civil War related. Vulter's favorite program was the one in which they had a historical performer present an evening with Civil War hero from Maine, Joshua Chamberlain.
Vulter has filled her time volunteering in Millbury for a host of activities and committees. She was a founding member of the Friends of the Asa Waters Mansion where she serves as co-president and corresponding secretary.
At the Asa Waters Mansion, Vulter has served as both a chairperson or co-chair of numerous historical/fundraising programs and reenactments involving hundreds of volunteers, participants and attendees.
She also is serving as a member of the Millbury Memorial High School Community Service Learning Board, a member of the 2013 Millbury Bicentennial Committee and is a founding member of the Asa Waters Mansion Task Force (appointed by the Millbury Board of Selectmen) and served for 12 years.
Vulter has also served on the Millbury Cultural Council, Millbury Historical Commission, as member of the board of directors for the Millbury Historical Society and the Millbury Veterans Memorial Committee. In 2011 she was awarded the Unsung Heroine Award from the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women.
She loves talking about history but deflects talk about herself and instead talks about working with others, especially Mansion Director Catherine Elliot. "People tell me all the time that the mansion is lucky to have you," she said. "But I tell them that I am lucky to have the Asa Waters Mansion. Not just because of it being an opportunity to work around my love of history, but because it allows you to build a life from what you give."
After visiting Joshua Chamberlain's house in Brewer, Maine Vulter and another volunteer was struck by how the house was illuminated by hidden lighting. "We knew we had to get that done at Asa Waters," she said. Today the lights, (Carol's lights as some call them) shine on the mansion making it a dramatic view every night in the center of town.
Today Vulter is hard at work with the Bicentennial Committee on Millbury's upcoming birthday. She says the committee has some surprises planned but won't discuss them until the time is right.
She takes great pride in the mansion saying it is a "symbol of the town and it belongs to everyone here in Millbury."
What does the word volunteering mean to you? she was asked.
"I guess it means giving of yourself," she said. "You have to have something that you feel passionate about. My mother taught my sister and I the joy of giving and it has stuck with us all our lives," she said.
"But I thought that there had to be something more than just work, and I think its making a difference... making a difference in someone's life." She added a final thought, "when someone tells me that something that we've done made an impression in their lives, it makes me feel great. When you love something, getting someone else to share in that is the most rewarding thing of all."
Carol Vulter has made a difference in plenty of people's lives and continues to do so. And she is the kind of person that makes Millbury such a great place to live, work and play.