A woman from the opposite side of the globe chose to make Marion her home and give back to the community that welcomed her.
Ponnamma “Mani” Hasanadka was born and raised on a farm in India, worked as a surgical nurse, then got married and came to the United States, first to New York in 1974, then Michigan, then Marion, Indiana, in 1981. She became a U.S. Citizen in 1985. She later became a single mom, and, while raising her children, wanted ways to be active and serve locally.
Throughout several decades, Mani has volunteered with Meals on Wheels, the Salvation Army, the Mall Walking Program, served in the cafeteria for Marion Community Schools, and is still active with the Garden Club of Marion. Since 2016, she has also volunteered at the Gardens of Matter Park. Recently, health challenges reduced her activity, but she is still seen watering in the park, and helping neighbors with gardening in her complex.
Maintenance & Operations Assistant Taylere McCoy said, “Mani has always been eager to help in any way she can. She has frequently watered flowers throughout the Gardens, not just in the Garden Club beds. Mani greets us with a smile and sometimes brings us homemade snacks! She is a joy, and we are grateful for her.”
Above all the volunteering, Mani loves greeting and talking to the people of Marion. “The people here are friendly,” she said. “They smile and care about you, no matter who you are.”
Through local programs, Mani also found avenues to better herself. She has earned her G.E.D., improved in English skills, took computer classes, and is a graduate of the Marion Police Department’s Citizen’s Police Academy, #1 in her class.
Mani is proud of her three successful children and seven grandchildren. She is also proud of the place she’s called home for many years. “Marion is a wonderful place to live.” She expressed Marion has a lot great opportunities for education, work, and recreation.