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'Top of the Morning to ya': Clinton calling service seeking new clients

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Catherine W. Idzerda
August 27, 2011
— Every morning, the phone rings in six homes in and around Clinton.

And every morning, the residents of those six homes are greeted by the voice announcing, “Top of the Morning!”


It’s not a prank call from an obnoxious elf, but a friendly check-up from one of the members of the Clinton Women’s Club.


“Top of the Morning” is a simple service: Seniors or shut-ins who live alone get a call each morning to check on them, said Charlotte Heikkinen, president of the women’s club.


“We call every morning between about 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m.,” Heikkinen said. “If we don’t find somebody answering, we call a caregiver or, more often than not, we stop off at the home.”


Most times, nothing is wrong. Other times, volunteers have found seniors who have fallen or been injured in some other way.


For families, the service lessens their anxiety about the health and safety of their parents.


“The children of some of these people have asked us to call their parents,” said Dorothy Clapper, a former Clinton resident who helped organize the service.


Clapper said the service had been around for “at least 20 years.”


According to Gazette files, the service began in 1991 when the women’s club was still called the “20th Century Club.”


It was so successful that the first district of the Wisconsin Federation of Women’s Clubs recognized Top of the Morning for distinguished service in a community improvement program.


The service is staffed by volunteers. The library staff or someone from the village hall opens the library early to accommodate the service.


Along with checking in on seniors, the calls help keep people connected with the community.


“Sometimes it’s the only call they get all day,” Heikkinen said.


Volunteers get something from the service, too.


“We have a group of people that are committed like crazy,” Heikkinen said. “They start volunteering, and then they find out it’s really fun.”


Sometimes, seniors and shut-ins are reluctant to use the service.


“At first, people are hesitant to bother us,” Heikkinen said.


Currently, six people use the service, and Heikkinen said they could handle additional clients.


Top of the Morning volunteers can call anyone in the village of Clinton and parts of Turtle, Clinton, Bradford and La Prairie townships. However, because the calls are made from the Clinton Public Library, none of the calls can be long distance—or a toll call. Although all of Rock County is in the 608 area code, landline users are charged for calls outside of a certain area.


Heikkinen encouraged families and seniors to inquire about the service. New volunteers are also welcome.


For More

What: “Top of the Morning” service for seniors and shut-ins. Volunteers call seniors and shut-ins who live alone once a day.


Where: The service is available in the village of Clinton and parts of surrounding townships, depending on phone number.


Cost: Free


For more information or to volunteer: Contact Charlotte Heikkinen at (608) 676-4465



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