A voice of encouragement

By DAISY WASHINGTON / Community Columnist

“Facebook is the only way I have to know what is happening in the lives of the people I know. I have come to know a lot of people in my lifetime, and I want to be able to stay in touch with them. I can encourage them and pray for them when they are having a hard time,” said 69-year-old Gail Kemp, a native of Birmingham.

Gail played the piano for 20 years at her previous church, Enon Baptist Church in Montevallo.

“I enjoyed it very much, even though I didn’t think of myself as a true musician,” she said.

Currently a member of the Calera Baptist Church congregation, she has assisted with providing food and drinks for events and activities.

“I don’t do much cooking these days, so I mainly provide beverages if assistance is needed,” she added.

These days she keeps herself occupied through friendly visiting by way of her cell phone and Facebook. She often assists neighbors and friends who need transportation to appointments, errands and shopping.

Kemp graduated Magna Cum Laude from Samford University where she received her B.S. degree in general studies and master’s degree in education from the University of Montevallo. She held a number of community service positions including child support case manager at the Shelby County Department of Human Resources and American Red Cross’ Alabama Power’s Project Share program.

“Helping children and senior citizens is very important to me,” said Kemp.

She also worked as an office assistant for RSVP. For several years she was the voice behind the “Happy Birthday” calls to the hundreds of RSVP volunteers.

“I loved doing that. I enjoyed talking to people. It made me feel good to be able to make others feel good,” she said.

Kemp lost her husband of 48 years to cancer in 2019. She is the proud parent of two children and six grandchildren.

“Volunteering enhances my life. The experience can be transforming and humbling. I am always willing to help anyone in any way that I possibly can. Earlier challenges and adversities in my own life inspire me to reach out to others and be there for them in any way possible. I am grateful for the opportunity to make a difference, no matter how small of a difference it may be,” said Kemp.

RSVP is proud to have had Gail serve on our staff and her role on the RSVP team of volunteers. She will be remembered for her kindness and the joy her voice brought to members. Thanks so much, Gail!