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Age is of no matter to this longtime volunteer

Jane Lehrman
For the Nevada Appeal
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Harriet Keeran has volunteered at Classy Seconds Thrift Store for nearly nine years. She says, "it keeps me moving."
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Harriet Keeran, an active and charming 90-year-old, is a volunteer at Classy Seconds Thrift Store. She has volunteered there for eight years, helping to sort clothes, hang them and put them out for sale.

She is the only unpaid volunteer. One employee is from AARP and paid by that organization. The remaining workers are sent from base manpower community service. More than 367 people have put in a total of 4,732 hours of work.

Classy Seconds offers housewares, clothing, small appliances and furniture for sale.

Tax credit donations are accepted around the back of the building at the drop off area and the donor may receive a receipt for the IRS. Larger donations will be picked up by truck if desired.

Terri Farnworth, representing Advocates to End Domestic Violence, joined in the discussion.

“Classy Seconds began about 10 years ago when we began receiving more donations than we could store at the Advocates’ office,” Farnworth said. “We needed more room, this building was obtained and Classy Seconds was born.

“We always need volunteers for Advocates to do shelter maintenance, man crisis lines or help out with fundraisers. There is no minimum number of hours to work. For instance Harriet Keeran serves at Classy Seconds two days a week, 5 to 6 hours each day. She sits on a high stool or sometimes ends up on the floor, sorting clothes.

“I saw her one day, trying to pair up shoes that were donated in a big bag. That was some job. Some shoes didn’t even have a mate.

To become a volunteer, contact the office at 883-7654, fill out an application and talk to Tracy, who is in charge of all the people who work at the shelter and the thrift shop.

The profits from Classy Seconds are used for the Advocate’s 51-bed shelter, the largest in Northern Nevada.

The funds help pay for repairs and maintenance on the shelter and provide items the clients may need. Some come in with nothing of their own. The Advocates also have income from 14 grants, the Taste of Downtown fundraiser, a Christmas letter asking for donations and checks from individuals who wish to help.

“We help all ages from every walk of life,” Farnworth said. “Last year we provided 4,000 bed-nights. The client may stay three months and in that time will be helped to set goals, apply for services needed, write a resume, do a job search and be referred to other programs.”

In 1943, before Harriet Keeran became a volunteer, she lived in Hawthorne and operated a family photo business for 30 years. She came to Carson City in 1974.

“I developed, printed, retouched ” everything,” Keeran said. “We made photos of all the high school seniors for their yearbook. I wore my eyes out,” she laughed.

Some of Keeran’s grown children are nearby. She lives with her daughter, Diane Cort, another daughter, Gwen Click, lives across the street. Justine is a teacher in Portland and son Mark works in Las Vegas.

“I know I am appreciated for my work by the staff at Classy Seconds and Advocates to End Domestic Violence,” Keeran said. “I like that. I was recently surprised at a 90th birthday party.”

All volunteers are awarded certificates for service and receive credits that enable them to purchase items at the store if they wish. Classy Seconds and Advocates to End Domestic Violence work hand-in-hand. Everything is managed through the office staff of Advocates.

The huge thrift store is located at 411 Hot Springs Road, on the right driving east from Carson Street. Classy Seconds is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday. It is well worth a visit just to see all the items on display for sale.

For information, call 883-7654.