Written by Carolyn Greco, City of Dublin Volunteer
Beth Hillmann, a half-Irish, half-Scottish, longtime Dublin volunteer, exudes energ –even from her Celtic-blue eyes. She and her family relocated from Chicago to Dublin 19 years ago. For 18 years of those years, Beth has been volunteering for the community. Her roots run so deep that her email handle is “MrsHDublin”.
Beth recounted the story of the Dublin Irish Festival’s origins beginning when enthusiastic parents shined headlights on their children céilí dancing on the Coffman Park tennis courts. Her introduction to the festival began when her twin daughters were fifth grade Girl Scouts. Their leader, a neighbor, suggested that they volunteer at the Wee Folk area playing games and making crafts with the children.
Volunteering for the Dublin Irish Festival then became a Hillmann girls family tradition. Liz Hillmann travels from Michigan and Amanda from Boston to work with their mom each year. But volunteering is more than just an annual mother-daughters activity.
“Volunteering is my social life,” said Beth. “It’s how I made friends. My friends and I met volunteering for the City.”
In 2019 Beth co-chaired the Festival’s Dub Club, the raised north-end seating venue at the Dublin Stage. She recruited volunteers to set up, serve food, assist vendors, and oversee a pleasant experience for festivalgoers.
“I’ve done many jobs at the festival,” she says. “I’ve sold tickets and tokens, poured beer, cleared tables, drove a golf cart, checked in bikes and been a floater where urgent help is needed.”
Beth’s volunteer activities aren’t limited to the three-day Festival. She handed out promotional material at Zoofari; helped decorate ginger bread houses for kids’ cooking classes; popped corn for the rec center’s holiday movie; stuffed envelopes and assembled information packets in the office; delivered neighborhood fall flyers door to door; and last October doled out candy as Spooktacular’s Queen of Halloween.
For 10 years Beth and volunteer bestie Grace Gushue, have supervised the North Entrance Volunteer Information tent for the St. Patrick’s Day and Independence Day parades. The duo answers questions and directs participants on where to line up. They team up again the evening of the 4th to check wrist bands for entry. Beth jokes that the two have become such a parade staple that the tent will need to be named the “Beth and Grace Tent” when they pass.
Look for Mrs. H in Dublin. You’re guaranteed a warm welcome.
The Volunteer Spotlight series shines a light on the City of Dublin’s valued volunteers. To recommend a deserving volunteer, or to inquire about volunteer opportunities, email firstname.lastname@example.org.