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Living Life to Its Fullest

One might not expect that the strong, deep voice heard at Full Circle Thrift twice weekly actually belongs to volunteer Jane Gallen, a diminutive but always dynamic octogenarian. Jane is a lifelong volunteer and has been with us for 20 years.

We have Jane’s twin sister to thank for introducing her to A Woman’s Place (AWP) and encouraging her to volunteer with Full Circle Thrift.  When I asked Jane what motivates her to continue to spend her time here, she said “It’s the children. I want to see children who’ve experienced domestic violence develop a strong sense of self-worth so that they can go on to live full, happy, and productive lives.”

According to Jane, life is about choices.  This is exemplified in a story she shared about the circus coming to her hometown approximately 50 years ago.  At that time she was recovering from major surgery but still chose to take her six children, because, as she put it, “I could be in pain anywhere so I might as well have some fun.”  Today, Jane admits to some occasional age-related arthritic pain but still chooses to perform very physical tasks at Full Circle Thrift and in fact needs encouragement to take a break or stop for a bite to eat.  Life is often defined by the attitudes and outlook we choose – despite some difficult personal experiences, Jane has always chosen to maintain a positive approach to life’s challenges and she clearly stated that she wouldn’t change a thing.

Jane credits her mother with being instrumental in shaping her character.  She fondly recalls her childhood in Abington, PA where her mother raised seven children but always found time to welcome friends, family, and even strangers into their home.  Years later, while raising her children, the Gallen home became the gathering place for neighbors, family, and friends of all ages.  While Jane said she doesn’t resist technology, she firmly believes that personal interactions and shared experiences are the best ways to maintain long-term relationships.  Her hope for the future is that her new great-granddaughter, and all of her grandchildren, will be personally fulfilled while also developing a strong social conscience and making a positive impact on their communities.

In addition to volunteering at Full Circle Thrift, Jane is a member of the Warrington Women’s Club through which she’s recently assisted with projects at Peace Valley Nature Center, the New Britain Food Pantry, and the Strawberry Festival at Peddlers Village. These and other compassionate life choices and her “can do” attitude demonstrate her philosophy of living life to the fullest.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.”  I thank you for sharing this most precious gift with us.


Debbie Nugent
Full Circle Thrift Store Manager

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