Moving with her husband, Bob, to Scottsdale in 2003 from Chicago, Lizbeth Congiusti said the timing was perfect, as she’d recently been furloughed from United Airlines and Bob was offered a promotion with his company, AON Corporation.
“I told him I’d move anywhere warmer than Chicago and feel blessed to be given the opportunity to move to Scottsdale,” Congiusti said.
In April of 2005, Bob suffered a traumatic brain injury and spent many months in rehabilitation at St. Joseph Hospital in Phoenix. After that, the couple shifted its focus to volunteer work.
“On his first attempt to volunteer he was rejected,” Congiusti said. “His second attempt to volunteer at the Granite Reef Senior Center was a roaring success. Bob’s brain injury prevented him from returning to work and, as a result of his not being able to be home alone, I retired.”
Congiusi decided to join her husband in volunteering and, after his passing, she has remained dedicated to those efforts.
Name: Lizbeth Congiusti
Occupation: Retired Food and Beverage director for United Airlines
Family: I am one of five children and we are all very close in age. We are now all older and still get along famously. Currently, a widow, I have two stepsons and two wonderful grandchildren and my daughter-in-law Chrissy is one of my best friends.
How are you involved in the local community? Today, I am a Scottsdale Ambassador, and for the past five years have participated in the city’s Adopt a Road program, monitoring the stretch of road on Pima from Indian Bend to Via De Ventura. In addition, I am a weekly volunteer at the White Dove Thrift Store in support of Hospice of the Valley. In my community, Pleasant Run, I am a volunteer on the HOA board and act as the Architectural Review chair.
How did you get into volunteering? When Bob could no longer work on a regular basis, he needed something to do and he began volunteering. I soon joined him at the Granite Reef Senior Center.
Who is your inspiration and why? My husband, Bob, is my inspiration. He never complained, he was always willing to help others. Always had a smile on his face. He grew up with the PMA philosophy, “success through a Positive Mental Attitude.”
At the end of the day, what brings you the most joy? I enjoy seeing other folks smile. Helping others and making them feel better also makes me feel better.
What are the opportunities you see in your community? Opportunities are endless. In addition to the programs I am currently involved in, I have supported the Harp Foundation, worked as an usher at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts and Chicago Cubs Spring Training Camp Sloan Park. While at the Granite Reef Senior Center, working together with the library, we developed the Walking History Books program and recorded individuals willing to share their history of living in Scottsdale.
What advice would you give to today’s youth? Give it a try. Volunteer for a project. First, it will give you a better idea of what the purpose of the organization is. “Life is not only about what you know, it’s about who you know,” and you never know who you’ll meet with volunteering. It’s a volunteer opportunity; if you don’t like it, you can always move on. I guarantee it will be a positive change in your life and you’ll create memories to last a lifetime.
If you or someone you know might be a good fit for “Get to know your neighbor,” reach out to Ryan Winslett at firstname.lastname@example.org.