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Let me introduce you to Sunita Hooley

By: Karen McCullough, SSA

Everyone in Bluffton knows Sunita Hooley. And if you don’t know her, let me tell you about her! She’s pretty great!

Sunita was born in Maharashtra, India in 1985. She was abandoned at approximately one year old and was severely malnourished and neglected, including having a broken arm. At the age of two, she was adopted from an orphanage by her parents, Don and Mary Ina Hooley, who were living in Iowa City, Iowa at the time. The year after adopting Sunita, the family traveled to India and served as missionaries for the next two years.

I first met Sunita, her two brothers, and her parents, when they moved to Bluffton in 1994 and we attended the same church. Sharing the same church family and living in the same small community, I’ve been able to get to know Sunita years before my days of working at the Allen Co. Board of DD.

Most often you will find Sunita riding through town on her bike from one event to the next. She has a very busy social calendar. She is a sports fanatic! Sunita plays Ultimate Frisbee three times a week at Bluffton University. During the winter months, she is a member of the Special Olympic basketball team. She was disappointed that the team did not go to the State Championship last year, but is hoping to make it to State this year! When the weather is nice, she likes to go for runs and has a favorite route through Bluffton that she follows. She is an avid Bluffton Pirates and Bluffton University Beavers sports fan, and you will often find her cheering on the soccer, football, and basketball teams.

When she’s not cheering on her favorite teams or playing sports herself, she also keeps a very busy work schedule. She is a dedicated worker. Sunita works at McDonald’s in Beaverdam two days per week. Her job there is to maintain the drink area and make sure the tables are cleaned off. Her favorite task is making sure the sweet tea container is full. She also works at Marimor Industries in Lima, OH up to five days per week. Her favorite job at Marimor is to work on the paper shredder. Sunita recently started a new volunteer position at the Mennonite Memorial Home in Bluffton. She works in the therapy department with Northwest Physical Therapy cleaning exercise equipment after it is done being used. She is really excited about this volunteer opportunity and says she really likes helping out.

Sunita likes to spend time with her family. She is close with her parents and her two brothers. She said that her favorite meal is Ramen noodles and reports that her mom makes them the best! Sunita is a member of First Mennonite Church and regularly attends the Faithbuilders Sunday School class. She also volunteers to watch the infants and the toddlers in the church nursery and helps out with Vacation Bible School every summer. On the rare occasion that she has free time, she likes to play cards, especially Skip Bo and Uno.

In reflecting on the years that I’ve known Sunita, I realize that she has a taught me three things about life:

BE A FRIEND! Sunita is friendly to everyone she meets regardless of their age, gender, race, occupation, religion, sexual orientation, or disability. She isn’t afraid to meet new people, and when she does meet someone new, she remembers their name! She talks to others and doesn’t build up walls that the rest of us are so often guilty of doing.

GET INVOLVED! Put yourself out there and be willing to take risks. Give of your time and energy to others. Do the things you love and don’t wait for a more convenient time to start living. When Sunita decides she wants to try something new, she works at it until she gets it. She isn’t afraid to try! We shouldn’t be either.

LAUGH! Take time to enjoy life. Sunita has a contagious laugh. Even if you don’t know why she is laughing, you can’t help but laugh right along with her. She has a great sense of humor and likes to playfully tease and joke with others. When life gets overwhelming and stressful, let’s remember to take a step back and laugh. This is the only life we’ve got so we might as well enjoy it.

So, next time you see Sunita at work, riding her bike around town, playing Frisbee, or cheering on her favorite teams, be sure to say hello and introduce yourself. I guarantee she will make you smile if you do.


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