Like a Good Neighbor Diane is There

Longtime Wyckoff Library volunteer Diane Ulrich is being honored for two decades of service

Some people are just born to serve.

Count Diane Ulrich — 35 year Wyckoff resident — among that esteemed group of people, whose big and decidedly unselfish hearts lead them to places like soup kitchens, hospitals and even the .

After all, Good Samaritan Ulrich has been dedicating her time by delivering books to the for the last 20 years. Once a month, the longtime member of the Friends of the Wyckoff Library packs up her car and visits the CHCC with carts full of books, books on tape, and even CDs for the elderly residents who want their fiction fix but can no longer see.

“She’s a dynamo, a true library champion,” said Beth Wharton, president of the Friends of the Wyckoff Library. “Diane has been delivering large-print books to the CHCC for decades."

Some of the nursing home residents want the books, but others treasure something different.

“Some of them are voracious readers,” said Ulrich.  “And some of them just want to talk once a month, which is okay too.”

After 20-plus years of service, Ulrich is finally getting her day in the sun.

“The longevity and dedication Diane has for the library is phenomenal,” said Wharton. “She’s just one of those people you want to have in your town.”

The Friends of the Wyckoff Library will be recognizing Diane and all of their volunteers at a reception on Sept. 6 in the Monroe Room at the library at 7 p.m. The reception will also serve as a meet and greet for new recruits, which the Friends are always on the hunt for.

In fact, it’s the first time the library was able to accommodate such an event, because they never really had space.

“The library was getting overcrowded and running out of room, but we saved money for over 10 years and that went towards the ,” said Ulrich.  “The , after being closed for 15 months.”

Three other people deliver books to the CHCC with Ulrich, and two new volunteers have gotten involved since the library’s used book sale. They have about 10 volunteers total, but they still need more according to Wharton.

“It’s not a large group of people,” she said. “We’re hoping to get some new people and new faces to show up.”

Children can get involved, too, although delivering books to the nursing home is better suited for a more mature audience. 

“Yes, kids can do it, but probably with their parents,” said Wharton. “It’s not for little kids, more for middle-school kids or teens in high school who can better understand what goes on in a nursing home.”

Besides delivering books, the Friends of the Wyckoff Library run a variety of programs and volunteer opportunities.  They offer book groups, adult and children’s programs, a museum pass program, newsletters, and a gigantic book sale once a year. In the past, they’ve held music programs and poetry contests. 

“Long ago, the volunteers would even take trips into the city to museums together, but now people are busy and have to work,” said Ulrich. 

If you’ve ever wanted to volunteer and simply don’t know how to get started, or just want to meet new friends, you’re welcome and encouraged to attend the reception, according to Wharton.

“We can guide them to an area where they can volunteer,” said Wharton. 

If you do go, take a cue from Ulrich, the local volunteering legend, and maybe even thank her for her outstanding service for the past 20 years. 

“She deserves any kind of kudos she can get,” said Wharton.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Joseph M. Gerace at Joseph.Gerace@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

virginia nahas September 05, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Kudos to Diane for this honor. My husband Bob and I have known Diane and her late husband Bob for 37 years. We have also known all the big and little differences they have made in strangers' and friends' lives. I serve with Diane on the Board of the Friends of the Wyckoff Library and see first hand how tirelessly she works delivering books and cheer to the residents of CHCC. Diane also sphere headed the research and printing of the Wyckoff history book "On High Ground". On a few occasions drove the large rented van on our long distance library trips. Most of all, Diane and been a real "Friend" to the Wyckoff Library by helping to support all the wonderful programs at the Wyckoff Library. Diane, this an honor well deserved! Bob & Virg Nahas
Brian Scanlan September 05, 2012 at 03:01 PM
This recognition is certainly well deserved. I had the honor of working with Diane and her late husband Bob for 15 years in the St. Martin's Soup Kitchen ministry of St. Elizabeth's. Diane and Bob were huge supporters of this activity, and Diane continues to give up her Saturdays to ensure that 150-200 needy people, many of the children, get a nutritious hot meal. Last Saturday Diane also brought her granddaughter Alison along. Thank you, Diane, for all you do!
Mary Ann Belliveau September 06, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Diane Ulrich is without a doubt an amazing, selfless, giving person. My Mother had MS and for many years and Diane without fail was a constant visitor who brought hope, joy and humor to my Mom during her hardest days. She was a true friend to my Mother and for that I am eternally grateful. Congratulations Diane! You are an inspiration to us all!
Susie Lovelile September 06, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Very well written article. Thanks to the author who was able to portray such a kind individual.
Jim Mahoney September 06, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Tremendous article. In today's times we need someone to write about upbeat topics and people who make a difference with their kindness and caring actions. The writer does a great job telling us about Dianne and her great deeds. Jim Mahoney
Jay Hosmer September 07, 2012 at 06:15 AM
This is a tremendous piece about a woman who cares, More people are need like this in the world... Jay Hosmer
Diane Ulrich September 10, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Thank you for yur kind words. Diane
Diane Ulrich September 10, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Thank you for your kind words. This article was supposed to be advertising the Friends' Volunteer Party. My face is a little red. Diane
Diane Ulrich September 10, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Your mom was a true inspiriation. I still miss her. Diane
Patsy Madden September 15, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Congratulations,Diane! This is a well deserved honor. The word "volunteer" aptly describes your dedication to St Elizabeth, to the CHCC and to the Wyckoff Library. You epitomize what it means to be a "FRIEND" whether you are delivering books, serving meals to the homeless in the soup kitchen or just bringing smiles to all who receive your kindnesses. Kudos to you,Patsy Madden


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