Mundy Fitch Fergus has a confession that may surprise the people of Washington County: grocery shopping is her least favorite chore. As she says it, she gives a little laugh because she realizes just how odd that must sound. From volunteering for Meals on Wheels to serving as the Coordinator of the Community Circle Food Pantry, her life’s work has revolved around nourishing others body and soul – and that’s no secret. It is that passionate and sincere commitment to the community that has earned Mundy the honor of this year’s Louis E. Waller Humanitarian Award.
The daughter of local philanthropists T. S. Fitch, founder of Washington Steel, and Janet Reed Fitch, she is proud to have carried on the family tradition of helping those less fortunate. “My father made it very clear to us that we had been blessed and we had an obligation to give back,” she reflects.
As a young girl, Mundy spent much time at the LeMoyne Multi‐Cultural Community Center, an organization committed to bridging the gap between races and neighborhoods by serving low‐income minority children and families. It was there that she first “got a strong sense that there was a lot of work to be done in the community.” During college, her eyes were opened to “the county’s apparent needs” while working in the office of then District Attorney Harold Fergus (later Judge Fergus). After graduating, she became involved with Community Action (now Community Action Southwest) as a Program Specialist charged with expanding summer Head Start into a year‐long child development services program. Later, Mundy also helped to establish the first daycare center for low‐income families at the former Third Ward School.
In the 1970s, Mundy volunteered alongside her mother for Easter Seals, driving children to speech therapy classes. It was also during this time that she began helping senior citizens through Meals on Wheels. “It was really, really rewarding work that went far beyond providing a hot meal,” she stated. Once a client had fallen minutes before Mundy arrived with her delivery. Fortunately, Mundy was there to give the situation immediate attention, but the event left her with a lasting impression on the importance of caring for the elderly and the homebound, especially those who are alone. The older members of the community continue to hold a special place in her heart.
For the past 23 years, Mundy has served as Coordinator for the Community Circle Food Pantry, working tirelessly to feed those in need, many of whom are seniors. She first became involved with the pantry through her church, First Presbyterian 1793, and decades later, she continues to offer the same enthusiasm for this “labor of love” as she did on her first day. One of her greatest objectives is to make the pantry’s clients feel comfortable, not embarrassed,
when taking a donation. Mundy also greatly enjoys soliciting new volunteers. “Being involved with the pantry is such a tangible way you can help someone,” she remarked.
Additionally, Mundy has served on the boards of Easter Seals, YWCA, Washington Area Humane Society, the Brownson House Auxiliary, and the Washington Hospital Foundation, where she was actively involved in the ladies’ golf outing event. She has volunteered for the United Way and Washington School District (as a tutor). And for nearly a decade, she sat on the Board of the LeMoyne Center, helping it secure crucial funding that led to its growth. In 2009, she was honored with the NAACP’s Human Rights Award for her efforts. She is a former elder and choir member of her church and currently serves as Treasurer of the Board of the Greater Washington County Food Bank.
Mundy greatly appreciates the recognition she has received for her service, but she believes that having had these opportunities to help others is a reward in itself. “It’s what I do, and it’s what I think I should do,” she stated. “I describe a humanitarian as someone who is living for service for his fellow man. I don’t always live up to that definition, but I try. I just hope that in some small way I have made a difference in our community.”