Carol Bradshaw’s Story

“The building opened on a Friday, and we moved in that next Monday,” says Brickstone by St. John’s 10-year Resident Carol Bradshaw.

Carol felt fortunate at that time to stake her claim to the perfect corner apartment in the brand new Brickstone by St. John’s community on Elmwood Avenue in Brighton. It was the beginning of 2014 and she and her husband Bob were making the transition to independent living after living in their home in nearby Pittsford the previous 47 years.

Looking back now at her St. John’s experience over the past decade, Carol says she has no regrets about the move. “It was the best decision we ever made,” she says, enjoying life from that same corner apartment.

Carol points to her husband’s illness, his eventual passing, and later the COVID-19 pandemic as validation that their move put her exactly where she needed to be—a vibrant community, which provides the support and friendships she can depend on. “If I was still in my house, I don’t know what I would have done,” she says.

Still, while Carol is quick to point out all that St. John’s has meant to her, there is no doubt that she has purposefully worked to return the favor. It was not long after moving in that she connected with Jean Loomis, the now-retired, former volunteer services manager at St. John’s Meadows. Carol says that Loomis identified her as someone who had a spirit for volunteerism and a willingness to make things happen. “And she (Loomis) is a hard person to say ‘no’ to,” says Carol with a laugh.

Prior to moving to Brickstone, Carol had spent decades contributing her time and talents to her church, Pinnacle Lutheran in Henrietta. She also taught quilting at Sojourner Home in Rochester for years and both she and Bob were longtime supporters of the Rochester chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America.

Carol Bradshaw pictured hosting a quilt show in the Brickstone Horizons Room in 2018

Upon moving to Brickstone, Carol did not anticipate becoming such an avid volunteer at her new home, despite her history of volunteerism. Yet today, her list of volunteer work across St. John’s is immense.

Carol Bradshaw makes and donates walker bags for residents at both St. John’s Home and St. John’s Meadows. “I make about four or five of them a month,” she says.

She is a new resident greeter at Brickstone by St. John’s and has been for years. She checks in with new residents coming in and helps schedule coffee hours, potluck dinners, and other mixers as part of the Connections Committee. Carol also invites new residents to the long-standing monthly Women’s Social gathering and ensures each woman is introduced to other members of the community.

In addition to delivering birthday cards to her Brickstone neighbors, she also is an important part of what current St. John’s Volunteer Services Coordinator Jaimie Cullinan calls “the distribution team.” Cullinan says “she delivers the Monthly (programming calendar), What’s Cooking? (dining menu and news), and everything else I need” across the St. John’s Meadows campus.

Related to her former work as a paraprofessional with the Pittsford School District, Carol also now tends to the beautiful Brickstone library on the second floor by helping keep it neat, organized, and current. She also secures additional books and other materials for homebound residents through Brighton Public Library.

Through it all, Bradshaw is modest when it comes to talking about all of her volunteer contributions. “I just do my part,” she says. “I like to be in the background. I guess I’m a worker rather than a leader.”

Earlier this month at the St. John’s Volunteer Recognition Luncheon Carol Bradshaw was thrust into the spotlight that she tries her best to avoid. She was named as this year’s Jean Loomis Exceptional Volunteer Award winner, an honor fittingly named for the person who recognized Carol’s potential to be the incredible contributor she has become.

In the end, it turns out that Carol is both a worker and a leader, albeit one who leads by example for the greater good of those around her. “When I come home after a volunteer event, I feel good about it,” she admits. “I get great satisfaction out of helping others.”

Despite her modesty, it must be said that it is people like Carol Bradshaw who make St. John’s such a unique and wonderful place to live.