Lois and Dr. Peter Auster work on a patient. (Photo credit: Sue Slack)

Lois Langlois, 68, is no average retiree. She backpacks, skiis, scuba dives and makes a difference in Jamaicans’ lives. For Lois, this November marked six years of volunteering with Great Shape! Inc.

An Ashland, Oregon resident, Lois is retired from management at Oregon Senior & Disability Services Division, but continues to work at the Veteran’s Administration and Providence Medford Medical Center. Lois first heard about Great Shape’s work in Jamaica from her friends Gretchen and Georgene, two of the organization’s founders. “I was always impressed by their enthusiasm and energy. I wanted to be in on it!” Lois said.

Over the years, Lois developed friendships with other volunteers and local Jamaicans. Her friends Sharon and Sue joined her on this year’s 1000 Smiles project. Excited and nervous, Lois hoped they would enjoy the project as much as she does. “Sue communicated beautifully with the local clinic staff as she did ‘traffic control’ in the clinic and Sharon seemed to be three places at once all week,” Lois said. “They worked hard, the experience was definitely worth it, and they learned a lot.”

Lois enjoyed her sixth year on 1000 Smiles, both helping Jamaicans smile brighter and getting in some scuba diving in her free time. She gave a rave review of the Beaches dive team staff, grateful for the way they have shown her a whole new world of coral and tropical fish on every dive over the past six years.

A lifetime volunteer, Lois just keeps coming back to Great Shape! Inc. and 1000 Smiles.

“You get back even more than you give,” said Lois. “Jamaican children and families have gorgeous smiles and large hearts.”