40 From Our 40: Marsha Gordon

Marsha prepares a meal as a culinary crew volunteer.

Marsha prepares a meal as a culinary crew volunteer.

When George and Marsha Gordon’s son came home from school, excited about 25 Cent Hamburger Day at McDonald’s, which supported construction of a new Ronald McDonald House in Indianapolis, they had no idea of the journey it would inspire. Two years later, in April of 1983, Marsha and George became volunteers at the House, beginning what would truly be a family affair.

By 1984, Marsha and George were volunteering every other Friday night, as well as serving as House Managers. Eight-year-old daughter Jennifer spent her formative years living at the House on weekends with her mom and dad. When she grew up and eventually graduated college, she found herself back at the House, volunteering another five years. Marsha and George continued their Friday night shift until 2020, when the pandemic began. While George retired from his volunteering duties, Marsha later returned to the House as soon as volunteers were allowed back, to serve on the culinary crew.

Marsha Gordon volunteering at RMHCCIN.The House is full of memories for the Gordon family. Marsha organized monthly birthday parties that helped remind siblings and family members they were loved and deserved to feel special too. All guests were invited, but Marsha went the extra mile to make anyone celebrating their birthday feel special. Years later, when the Gordons were being honored for 25 years of service at the annual volunteer celebration, a new volunteer asked to be introduced to Marsha. The new volunteer had stayed at the House as a child, while a sibling was being cared for at Riley Children’s Health. She remembered Marsha from the birthday she celebrated at the House and wanted to thank her.

“My favorite experiences were giving House tours to families just checking in. They are often overwhelmed with worry for their child and then overwhelmed again, in a positive way with everything I shared they would have access to at the House. I also love helping families select gifts from Santa’s Workshop. I recall many parents shedding tears in appreciation for being able to give gifts to their loved ones despite the heartbreak of having a child spending the holidays in the hospital,” says Marsha.

Marsha recalls a funny situation from her early days at the House. Before phones were added to guest rooms, managers had to page families when they had a package arrive or when there was an incoming phone call on hold. One evening, a call came for a guest family – the All Family. Jennifer paged them, asking “will the All family please come to the office?” The All family showed up – and so did all of the other families in the House.

By Mary Friend

Heart & Hearth Winter 2022