Remembering "Ms. Pat"

January 12, 2021

By Julie Capaldi,President, United Way of Pickens County

PICKENS COUNTY — At the heart of United Way of Pickens County’s Volunteer Income Tax Program, nicknamed VITA, is a corps of dedicated volunteers who donate their time and expertise, year after year, to make sure hard working low to moderate income tax payers submit their tax returns correctly and on time. United Way of Pickens County has provided this free service for years.

Many of our volunteers are retired. Finished with their careers but not ready to be put out to pasture just yet. They have realized that nothing is better for the soul than a group of like-minded friends who share the passion for helping others.

On New Year’s Day, 2021, we lost the matriarch of United Way of Pickens County’s VITA program, Ms. Patricia Todd, or Ms. Pat, as she was known to those who loved her. Ms. Pat succumbed to COVID-19 after a brief but valiant effort to overcome this horrible virus.

Our hearts shattered into a million pieces, especially my colleague Jeremy Price, who had the privilege of calling Ms. Pat, an adopted family member … and a friend. When he called me on New Year’s Day to share the news of her passing, his broken heart was palpable.

At our next virtual staff meeting, the first of the New Year, I asked him to write down his thoughts about Ms. Pat because no one knew her better or loved her more. This is what he wrote.

“I would like to take the opportunity to honor the memory of one of our valued and long-time volunteers Ms. Pat Todd. Ms. Pat spent decades serving her community through United Way of Pickens County’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Her selfless dedication to the program gave strength to the mission of the VITA program. Ms. Pat’s contagious smile and laughter brought comfort, not only to those she served, but her fellow volunteers as well. Ms. Pat always made sure to bring fresh home-baked goods with her to the tax site to ensure her fellow volunteers were fed and fueled for the mission to serve those in Pickens County. Ms. Pat’s presence and encouragement will be missed in the tax seasons going forward, but her commitment to serve those in need within her community will not be forgotten.”

Ms. Pat carried a folder with her that contained all of the certificates and accolades that she had received during her tenure serving VITA. It was a lot!

VITA will go on in 2021. It will look a lot different than in year’s past but we are committed to making sure people have expert help with the daunting task of filing their taxes correctly and on time … for free.

It is a given that the loss of Ms. Pat will leave a hole the size of the Grand Canyon. Our dedicated volunteers will put their grief aside and serve. Ms. Pat would have it no other way! Rest in Peace Ms. Pat. We will remember you every single day of our lives.

To keep up with the latest Pickens County VITA information, visit our website, We will start taking appointments mid-January. To make an appointment call 2-1-1.

Reach Julie Capaldi by email.


This editorial first appeared in the Sentinel Progress on January 12, 2021.