Volunteer Spirit: At 70, Toles-Taulbee keeps going

Brenda Toles-Taulbee hula hoops at a recent Capital City Classic Auto Club event. At 70, Toles-Taulbee volunteers much of her time to charity work. (Photo submitted)

Often there’s great complexity in what seems to be the simplest of statements. The reason for Brenda Toles-Taulbee’s volunteer work is testimony to that.

“I do it knowing the help I can give others,” she said, “and it makes me happy. I don’t do it for praise. Helping others and being able to give back fills my heart.”

Words that are reflected by action.

At 70, Toles-Taulbee is one of those energetic Baby Boomers who holds down a full-time job at Advance Auto Parts on Versailles Road — and has no plans of retiring. With that, however, she finds time to give back in a variety of ways.

She said her father died when she was young, and her mother had to work all the time. That makes her no stranger to hard work.

Toles-Taulbee is perhaps best known around town for her work with the Capital City Classic Auto Club, at least some of her volunteer work passing through the club and its 40-plus members.

Her work includes efforts on behalf of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Dream Factory, Toys for Kids with the local fire department, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Diabetes Association — and likely others she failed to mention.

“I do a lot of these on my own as well as those in conjunction with the club.”

The car club raises money for causes through its cruise-ins, where primarily old-car enthusiasts gather in the parking lot of a local business to visit, discuss cars, hold cake walks and sell chances on various items.

She mentioned several businesses that have become involved by providing space for the events and items for the sales. They include Walmart, Frisch’s and Hardee’s. Recently she joined with First Financial Bank to raise about $2,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Toles-Taulbee’s husband, Gary, is also involved in the work of the car club and in her other volunteer efforts – as well as some of his own.

They’ve been married nine years. Her first husband, Walter, died in 2003.

She also finds time for work in her church, North Frankfort Baptist, where she serves as Sunday School director and drives the bus to pick up children.

“I think all people need to do is just say to themselves ‘I’m going to step up and do something’ and then do it,” Toles-Taulbee said. “Just look around for people in need, ask questions.

“It doesn’t have to be anything big, maybe just cleaning or straightening someone’s house.

“Whatever it is, the idea is to just be willing to give something of yourself.”

Simple yet so profound.

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