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DIA Volunteer at Rivera Court
DIA Volunteer

Volunteer Award Winner:
Ruby McGraw

DFT Usher - September 2008

In recognition of her can-do spirit, the Detroit Film Theatre’s (DFT) usher committee members are proud to announce Ruby McGraw as their 2009 Volunteer of the Year. She anticipates what needs to be done, and does it without being asked. She lives just two blocks away from the theater and is always happy to help out on short notice. This is very much appreciated by staff members and fellow volunteers.

“Volunteering gives you the opportunity to help the community, and it keeps you focused on what is truly important,” McGraw said. “Volunteering is one thing you can do that will make you feel good about yourself, and it costs nothing except your time and a little gas.”

DFT Volunteer Ushers welcome and assist patrons in the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) auditorium. They give directions, answer questions, and seat patrons.

A longtime patron of the DFT, McGraw started volunteering as an usher about three years ago. Her personal passion is independent films and documentaries, and she loves “escaping” in films. She recommends the food in the theatre’s Crystal Gallery as both good and inexpensive.

McGraw enjoys watching people marvel at the theatre’s interior. She knows how they feel when they see its beauty, and tries to educate them about its construction. Her favorite seat in the theatre is in the middle of the upper balcony.

McGraw loves the Detroit Institute of Arts, and is trying to see it all since it re-opened last year in November. She normally takes a floor at a time. She plans to continue her exploration this winter. She likes walking in the courtyard near Kresge Court, as it makes her feel like she’s in a “grotto”. She encourages friends, neighbors and family members to visit the DIA.

McGraw also gives her time to the Detroit Opera House, Detroit Synergy, Detroit Festival of the Arts, Parade Company and Amnesty International. Her other interests are bicycling, walking, traveling, reading, gardening and completing crossword puzzles. She enjoyed a recent trip to Russia, and was intrigued to find that souvenir sweatshirts were not available because the local people dress more formally.

McGraw grew up in southern West Virginia, and had brothers who lived in Detroit. Her father worked for a railroad company so the family rode the train for free. Visits to Detroit included seeing Belle Isle and Boblo Island. When McGraw married she moved to Germany, and then to Michigan. She’s now lived in Michigan most of her life. She has three children and five grandchildren. Her oldest child, son Andy, lives in Dayton, Ohio and owns “Java Street Café”. Her daughter Trudie, Production Director for HOUR Detroit magazine, lives in Madison Heights. Her youngest, son Jeff, resides in Plymouth and is an environmentalist for the State of Michigan. McGraw said grandchildren are “great”.

McGraw works full-time as an insurance adjuster and loves every minute of it. When she retires, she plans to live in a different country every winter and come back to Michigan in the summer. Meanwhile, she can visit other countries and experience different cultures vicariously through many wonderful films at the DFT.

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