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Island Profile: Sandi Savage

Sandi Savage at the St. George Village Botanical Garden, where she volunteers.Volunteers are making a difference at non-profits across the territory in these tough economic times. Budgets have been cut and there is less money to spend on staff, so volunteers such as Sandi Savage step up to make things happen.

Savage says she is fortunate enough not to have to work, so she volunteers. When she moved to St. Croix in 1979, her husband Jim Savage, didn’t want her to work.

“I didn’t get any satisfaction out of playing golf, so I decided to volunteer,” Savage says.

She chose to volunteer at the St. George Village Botanical Garden, where she had helped while visiting her parents on St. Croix. Savage says her mom was in charge of fashion shows at the garden and she helped her out by modeling.

“I get a lot of satisfaction volunteering at the garden,” Savage says. “Who wouldn’t want to help here in this lovely historical place?”

Savage says she was influenced by her parents, Ruth and Walter Howard, avid gardeners who loved to get their hands into soil. In the early 1970s the Howards helped clear off and then plant on the ruins of Estate St. George at what was to become a public garden. The garden opened to the public in 1975 through the efforts of volunteers, the St. Croix Garden Club, and donors.

Savage says helping at the garden is like a legacy for her. She proudly spoke of the fern garden in the rain forest section that her mother was instrumental in starting.

Savage says her mother’s ashes will be buried on the grounds of the garden. Savage spearheaded a memorial giving program to have loved one’s ashes buried near the old Danish cemetery in the garden.

She has held positions on the garden’s board of governors many times. She helps in most aspects of the garden, mostly doing office work, acting as a go-fer, working behind the scenes at every fundraising event.

“Building funds with events will build staff and we can get more done,” Savage says. She said they are hoping to hire an education director.

“Sandi volunteers from top to bottom,” said David Hamada, horticultural director. “She has been involved in every aspect of operations here.”

Savage says she knows it is hard for people to volunteer because of busy schedules, but she would like to see more young people and West Indians volunteering at the garden.

“There are so many opportunities to volunteer at the garden,” Savage says.

Savage is also active in her church, the St. Croix Reformed Church, she has volunteered for the triathalon, at the Animal Welfare Center, and the Dolphins Swim Team.

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