2019-20 Volunteer of the Month Recipients

April 2019 – Basil Hall, Team Handyman Volunteer

Basil Hall has been chosen as Volunteer of the Month for April.  Basil has been volunteering for Team Handyman since October 2017. When asked why he volunteers, Basil said, “I want to give back to the community. I picked Senior Services because seniors need a lot of help. I didn‘t realize that there were that many people who needed help.” Kris Recker, Office Manager & Team Handyman Supervisor says, “Basil has a very helpful and cheerful disposition and a wide range of handyman skills and knowledge. He provides mentoring and training for new volunteers and is willing to tackle more

difficult tasks, such as installing grab bars on tile, and jobs with multiple requests.” Basil says he gets a nice feeling that when he fixes things for our clients, they really appreciate it.

Born and raised in the Flint area, Basil is retired from the tool and die trade. He and his wife have two children and three grandchildren. He also enjoys hunting, fishing and playing golf.

Team Handyman volunteers assist Midland County seniors in keeping their homes safe and secure. They install smoke detectors, change light bulbs, put up grab bars and more. Kris Recker says, “We are so very fortunate to have a thriving handyman service in Midland County and grateful to the skilled volunteers that make the program possible.”

Thank you, Basil, for your handyman skills and your willingness to share them with the older adults of Midland County. You are much appreciated!


May 2019 – Senior Services Board of Directors

Our Board Members are the Senior Services’ Volunteers of the Month for May.
Front row, pictured left to right: Sharon Miller, Lee Rouse, Marissa Hernandez and Sue LaBonville. Back row, pictured left to right: Joy Buchanan, Catherine Bodnar, Jenni Bush, Joe Chebby, Jeremy Shafer and Steve Anderson. Not pictured: Mary Greeley, Tom Lanning, Laura Lee, Danielle McNally and Joe Weiler, Jr.

The Senior Services Volunteers of the Month for May are our Board of Directors!  They may not be typical Senior Services volunteers but they certainly fulfill a necessary function.  How do we choose our board members? Charlie Schwedler, Executive Director says, “While it is beneficial to have a diversity of professionals on a non-profit board—financial, legal, marketing, etc.—for us at Senior Services, we primarily look for a passion and a heart for older adults!” The board advocates for Senior Services, ensuring that we are good stewards of the funds entrusted to us and that we are faithful to our mission.

So why would someone want to be on our board? Why do our board members give their time? Here are some reasons:

“My parents lived 500 miles from here and as they aged, I was not able to participate in their daily care. Visits never came often enough and I missed them. Thus my interest in giving back in my own community.”

“I wanted to give back to the community. I have parents who use Senior Services and I want to support the organization that helps them.”

“To ensure we are constantly having discussions and exploring opportunities to help provide the best care for our seniors.”

“I have a strong interest in making sure that our seniors are aware of all the programs that are available to them – that make their lives easier and more enjoyable.”

“I am really happy to volunteer with such a great group of people – all working to enrich the lives of our older community members! Thank you for the opportunity to serve.”

“Ever since my first six years on the board, my initial respect for the organization has only increased. I believe in the importance of our senior population, how Senior Services can support their dignity, the intrinsic value we bring to all (individuals and the community) and the sense of satisfaction I have inside.”

“I absolutely love two things: connecting people to resources and giving back. I see volunteering as a way to contribute to a community that has given me so much. If I can share ideas, serve others, donate time or resources then I am living a purposeful life. I think it is vital to help the aging population connect with other people, fun activities, entertainment, education, and resources. By being on the board I’m able to serve in a small capacity of developing a more fulfilling life for seniors. I truly wish I could do more.”

“I grew up in a family that valued volunteering and we would often hear my grandmother say that, ‘It’s the little things you do that make the BIG things happen.’ This is a way for me to share my gifts and talents with an amazing organization that I want to see be successful in the future. I want to help make the BIG things happen.”

Our board is important to what we do at Senior Services and we appreciate their dedication! Congratulations to our Board for being the Volunteers of the Month for May—we appreciate you answering the call to help!


June 2019 – Karen Prime, Meals on Wheels Volunteer

Karen Prime is being honored as Volunteer of the Month for June for her service as a Meals on Wheels driver for the Sanford Center. She has been volunteering since October 2014 with almost 400 hours! Why does she volunteer?  Karen says,

“My father-in-law went to the Sanford Center and loved it, so when I retired from Chemical Bank, I decided to volunteer there!” And why does she continue? “Because I just love it. I love the people. Even on a day when my blood pressure is high, by the time I am done (with my route), it’s fine!” Karen also noted there are four or five people on her route who she has been delivering to from the beginning.

“Karen Prime is always smiling, always friendly and kind. She cares deeply for the Meals on Wheels participants and is always willing to pick up extra days when she’s able. She stuck by us through two floods, even traveling to Midland for two years! Karen truly has a servant’s heart,” states Dawn Powell, Sanford Center Director. Karen even got her husband involved in volunteering when she met someone on her route who was in need of a visitor. Karen also watches her grandchildren and is very involved in her church.

Senior Services has many Meals on Wheels volunteers who are active on and off throughout the year, but we still need more at all our centers! People are off for vacation and health reasons or have decided to only be substitute drivers but our clients still need to get their meals. It is very rewarding—people are so appreciative of the meals and the friendly volunteers. Here’s Karen’s encouragement to other potential volunteers: “Anyone who has time should do this.” Meals on Wheels drivers usually take one route a week but some do more. The meals are delivered around the noon hour and the routes take roughly 1½ to 2 hours. Mileage is reimbursed. Intrigued?

Thank you, Karen, for your “servant’s heart!”  Congratulations on being Senior Services Volunteer of the Month!


 July 2019 – Charles Bash, Transportation Volunteer

Charles Bash has been driving for Senior Services’ Transportation Department since 2007 accumulating almost 2500 hours of drive time! He has been chosen as our Volunteer of the Month for July.

Charles read about our volunteer opportunities in the Midland Daily News in 2007 and decided that Transportation was the “best chance to meet and talk with older adults, since a ride might take from 15 to 30 minutes.” Charles says, “You meet an interesting cross section of Midland by driving—some people are multi-generational Midlanders and others have only been here six months.”

Keith Everett, Transportation Manager, speaks very highly of Charles. “He has done a tremendous job. He drives twice a week for us and helps us out a lot. He drives a wheelchair accessible van which is extra helpful. Charles is very passionate about our older adults. He cares about them and is always keeping us updated on clients he transports. We are lucky to have Charles driving for us. He deserves to be the volunteer of the month.” Charles was able to be on the other side of the “front seat” four years ago when he had open heart surgery and used our transportation service himself!

Charles retired as an information technology consultant for Dow in 2007. He and his wife, Marnie, a Meals on Wheels volunteer driver, moved to Midland in 1965, spending some time in California and Germany and then back to Midland. They have 13 children total, both their own and foster children, and nine grandchildren. Their children are now located all across the country from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles.

Transportation Drivers use agency vehicles to take older adults to any destination within Midland County. Drivers must have a good driving record and a kind and courteous attitude toward our clients. We offer “door to door” service with an arm to lean on! How would Charles encourage others to volunteer for Senior Services? “There’s a wide range of opportunities here. Try one and if it’s not a good fit, there are other alternatives. The need is real!” Charles says.

Thank you, Charles, for your 12 years of service to the older adults of Midland County and congratulations on being chosen as Volunteer of the Month!


August 2019 – Rick Foley, Meals on Wheels Volunteer
Rick Foley passed away on Aug 12, 2019, shortly after receiving Volunteer of the Month. We would like to honor Rick’s memory by sharing his stewardship for the care of older adults.

Rick Foley has been chosen as August Volunteer of the Month for his volunteer work with the Meals on Wheels program. Rick drives on Fridays for the Sanford Center and helps out on other days when needed. Since he first started in 2013 he has accumulated over 450 hours! Why does he volunteer?  Rick says, “I had the time and it’s the right thing to do.  It’s part of discipleship. I’ve developed relationships with the people on my route so I try to be there for them.”

“Rick is a dedicated, reliable and all around good guy. He has a great sense of humor and has stayed with us through two floods!” says Dawn Powell, Sanford Center Director. “He picks up extra routes when needed and is very dependable.”

Rick taught language arts for 32 years at Meridian Public Schools. He is married with a daughter and another “daughter” whom he and his wife took in at age 16. She calls them mom and dad and her children call them grandma and grandpa. In addition to his Meals on Wheels volunteering, Rick also volunteers at the food pantry and is involved in his church. What would he say to encourage others to volunteer for Meals on Wheels? “It’s rewarding in its own way,” Rick says, “I’m glad I do it.”

Meals on Wheels drivers are one the largest groups within our volunteer corps. There are approximately 150 active drivers on the volunteer rolls. We have 20 routes throughout Midland County and approximately 525 meals are delivered daily, Monday through Friday. We simply could not get meals to those who need them without our volunteers. These volunteers bring friendly smiles, a well check, and deliver a hot, nutritious meal.

Thank you, Rick, for your dedication to the older adults of Midland County and congratulations on being chosen as the Volunteer of the Month!


 Sept 2019 – Bill Albe, Trailside Center Volunteer

Bill Albe has been chosen as September’s volunteer of the month for his volunteer work at the Trailside Center. Bill has been coming to Trailside for about six years and has been the president of the Trailside Advisory board for two years. “I love this place so much,” Bill says. “The reason I want to volunteer is that I feel I want to contribute to the organization that provides so much to the community.” Bill says he tells everyone he can about the center. Center Director Jenny Anderson says, “Bill actively greets all new guests as they walk through the door and shares all the attributes the center has to offer. His leadership, positive attitude and enthusiasm is contagious to all who come in contact with him. In addition, he shares to all who will listen his philosophy regarding Senior Services, ‘it provides nourishment for the body and nourishment for the soul.’”

Bill is retired from Dow where he was an associate research scientist. One of the projects he worked on in the 1970s was developing a process for monitoring air and water pollution. He was involved in the American Chemical Society and the Instrument Society of America. In 1975,

Bill helped form the Sunset Astronomical Society, a Tri-City organization with about 150 members. Within this organization, he started the Great Lakes Star Gaze which is now in its 20th year! Bill is also involved in the Midland Amateur Radio Club and his church. Bill has three daughters, all living in Michigan, and five grandchildren.

What does Bill get out of volunteering for Senior Services? “The satisfaction of helping to fulfill the mission of this great organization!” And what advice would he give to someone who is hesitating to get involved? “You’ll get a lot more out of it than you put in!”

Trailside Center, like our other four Activity & Dining Centers in Midland County, is a place for older adults to come for lunch, activities, classes and just to talk! Trailside offers card playing, art classes, chair yoga, creative writing, Zumba and a monthly evening dance! In Bill’s words, “You get physical sustenance, social interaction with new friends and interesting educational and physical activity classes.” There is something for everyone at all of the centers. Regular participants at the centers often help out there–wiping tables, making coffee, calling bingo. Center volunteers are a big help to the Center Directors who often get pulled in many different directions.

Thank you, Bill, for your dedication to the Trailside Center. Congratulations on being chosen as September Volunteer of the Month!


Oct 2019 – RoseMary Cochran, Transportation Volunteer

RoseMary Cochran has been chosen as October Volunteer of the Month for her over 1,400 hours as a driver for the Transportation Department since 2014!

When RoseMary’s husband passed away, she wanted something to do, but something that would not take all of her time. Denise Cole, her friend and one of our Transportation drivers, convinced her to volunteer with us.

RoseMary says, “I love to drive and I love to talk to people.” RoseMary’s sister Vicky, who was visiting her at the time of this interview, says, “We lost our parents early and some older adults are like surrogate parents to Rosie.” Keith Everett, Transportation Manager, says, “She’s awesome—a great person, very caring.” Kathy Burlingame, Transportation Scheduler, says, “RoseMary drives twice a week but picks up extra days and will drive all day if needed. She’s a very happy person—I’ve never seen her mad about anything.” RoseMary adds, “I feel like I’m helping people and I know what it feels like to be older and need help.”

RoseMary was born and raised in Midland and worked as a cook for Meridian Public Schools for 20 years. She has two children, who also live in Midland, and three grandchildren. What would she say to encourage others to volunteer for Senior Services? “It’s a perfect place to meet people and you get a lot of knowledge from older people. They are so happy to share. I have fun meeting all of the different drivers.”

Our Transportation Drivers use agency vehicles—a fleet of four door cars and wheelchair accessible vans—to take clients to appointments all over Midland County. Drivers must have a good driving record and a kind and courteous attitude toward our clients. We are always in need of drivers especially ones who can handle wheelchairs in an accessible van. Our volunteers are the reason we are able to serve the transportation needs of Midland County older adults. So far this fiscal year (since September 2018) our drivers have logged over 9,500 volunteer hours!

Thank you, RoseMary, for your kind and giving attitude and congratulations on being chosen as the Volunteer of the Month!


November 2019 – Jim Getgood, Meals on Wheel Volunteer

Jim Getgood is being honored as Volunteer of the Month for November for his four years of service as a Meals on Wheels driver for the Sanford Center.

Why does Jim volunteer?  His short answer is “Because I can.” The long answer is “Because I should, because we are commanded to do so. We should be taking care of one another.” Jim spoke about wanting to develop a heart as big as his wife’s and in talking with him, it is apparent that he has accomplished that! Why does he continue to do Meals on Wheels six months of the year when he is in Sanford? “Because it is an absolute joy!” When our clients thank him, he counters with thanking them for the opportunity to help. Jim says the satisfaction he gets from delivering Meals on Wheels isn’t “something you can pick out of an ad.” Jim appreciates Senior Services as an organization—fiscally responsible and good managers of resources. “I’m your fan,” he says.

“I think God sent Jim—like an angel!” states Dawn Powell, Sanford Center Director. “He returns from Texas in the spring just when we are desperate. He knows all of the routes, is friendly and kind, and smiles a lot. He’s reliable and thorough and even helps out with Meals on Wheels behind the scenes.

He truly enjoys volunteering and cares for the clients,” When asked how often Jim drives, Dawn replied, “He drives every time I need him!”

Jim grew up in Sanford and worked here for two years before moving to Texas in 1978. He retired in 2008 from an industrial construction company. He and his wife, Vicki, sailed for a while, then moved on to flying (he has flown for Angel Flight) and volunteered for Habitat for Humanity. They also traveled in a motor home for years but now are “grounded” in Sanford part of the year and Texas the rest of the time. They have two children and four grandchildren who all live in Texas. Jim truly loves giving back to our clients, “Their need, at times, has nothing to do with a meal.”

Senior Services has about 160 Meals on Wheels volunteers who are active on and off throughout the year, but we still need MORE! Volunteers may take a break from driving for various reasons—health, vacations, etc.—but our clients still need to get their meals. They are so appreciative of our friendly volunteers.

Meals on Wheels drivers usually take one route a week but some do more. The meals are delivered around lunchtime and the routes take roughly 1½ to 2 hours. We offer $.58 per mile reimbursement for the route itself.

Thank you, Jim, for answering the call to help your neighbor! Congratulations on being Senior Services Volunteer of the Month!


Dec 2019 – Betsy Redlawsk, Coleman Center Volunteer

Betsy Redlawsk has been chosen as December’s Volunteer of the Month for her work at the Coleman Center where she has been volunteering since October 2015.

When she moved to the area, her son-in-law suggested she check out the Pere Marquette Apartments which are located on either side of the Coleman Center. She toured them one day and moved in the next! She loves living in the apartments—“we keep an eye on each other,” she says—and, if she wants to travel, she just locks her door and goes!

Why does she volunteer at the Coleman Center? “I just like the people. I like to help. I do all of the decorating at the center. I try to decorate people’s tables on their birthdays!” Betsy says.

Sheryl Watson, Coleman Center Director says, “Betsy’s always coming up with ideas for decorating and searching the dollar stores for ideas that will work at our center. She buys most of the bingo prizes and gets bingo set up twice a month. She will sometimes call bingo and occasionally delivers the apartment Meals on Wheels route. She delivered them on Halloween in costume so she could entertain everyone. She takes pictures and has them printed to put up on a picture bulletin board that she made. Anything to do with decorating and making the center look festive, she will do!”

Betsy says she is a morning person. She gets to the center as soon as it opens and wishes more people would come. “The food is great and there’s always someone to talk to.”

What other volunteer activities does she do? Betsy answers, “I always do  something representing seniors for the Coleman Christmas Parade. If the Coleman Center isn’t open due to the weather, I go around and let all of the apartment people know and then invite them to bring a dish to pass for a potluck in the community room.” Betsy also conducts bingo at the Pere Marquette Apartments.

Betsy lived in Barryton for 35 years, working for Wolverine Worldwide in Big Rapids, making military boots. She has two daughters, seven grandchildren and one great grandchild! She loves to travel and has been to Hawaii four times!

The Activity & Dining Centers are great places for active older adults to eat, socialize and participate in a variety of activities and special events. The Coleman Center is located between the two wings of the Pere Marquette Apartments in downtown Coleman.

Betsy, thanks for your help in keeping the Coleman Center beautiful! Thank you for the gift of your time and congratulations on being chosen as December’s Volunteer of the Month!


 Jan 2020 – Dave and Marguerite Schrader, Entertainment Volunteers at Seasons 

Dave and Marguerite Schrader are being honored as our Volunteers of the Month for January for their entertainment at Seasons Adult Day Services. They have been entertaining at Seasons for over ten years! They come in once a month and share their music—folk, country, bluegrass and gospel—with the Seasons participants. Marguerite plays the guitar, Dave plays the mandolin and they both sing.

“Dave and Marguerite take song requests, answer questions and love it when participants clap and sing along,” says Amy Sheridan, Seasons Activity Manager. “They are always prepared and very caring and compassionate. I wish we had more volunteer entertainers like the Schraders!” When asked why they volunteer, Marguerite said, “It makes you feel good to engage the participants. There’s no better feeling.” Dave chimes in with, “We’ve been blessed with these gifts and don’t want to keep them to ourselves. The music gets people out of their shells.”

The couple met at Dow where Dave was a research polymer chemist and Marguerite was a chemical engineer. They have two children and three grandchildren. They entertain at 15 to 20 different places each month, mostly nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and senior apartment complexes. In addition to their music, Dave and Marguerite also deliver food through the Department of Health and Human Services and make quilts for Shelterhouse and other charities.

How would they encourage others to volunteer? “It gets you out of your own little world and makes you realize that you are not the only one with issues. And maybe the stuff in your own life is not so bad,” answers

Marguerite. And Dave concurs with, “It gets you out of your own problems and makes you feel good that you are helping. There are so many things to be grateful for and you learn new things all the time.”

Seasons Adult Day Services is a day program for individuals who are living with increased changes in their memory from dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease, or physical health challenges. Participants engage in programs while receiving compassionate care and support. Seasons provides a socially stimulating environment for the participant and respite time for the family caregiver.

Marguerite and Dave, thank you for sharing your musical gifts with us and congratulations on being chosen as January Volunteers of the Month!


 February 2020 – Millisa Getgood, Meals on Wheels Volunteer

Millisa Getgood is being honored as February’s Volunteer of the Month for her work as a Meals on Wheels driver. When she was taking care of her husband’s grandmother, she realized the importance of nutrition in older adults. Then, when she was between jobs, she saw an ad in the newspaper for Meals on Wheels drivers and answered the call! That was October 2015, and she’s been delivering meals every week since. Millisa says, “I saw the need and it is a good way to contribute to the community. It’s my Thursday – part of my routine!” What’s in it for her? “Seeing the joy on the faces of my clients! They are happy to see me. And it just feels right.” Millisa enjoys getting to know the people. Michele Burkett, Food Service Coordinator says, “Millisa is so quiet, you don’t even know she is here but she is always here on her scheduled day! For Halloween, she was dressed like a motorcycle mama!”

 

Millisa has lived in Midland for about 25 years. She and her husband have two teenage children. She works part-time for a financial company. “I’m thankful that my employer allows me the flexibility to volunteer,” Millisa says. When asked how she would encourage others to volunteer, she answers,

“For this small time commitment, you’re rewarded ten-fold! It’s that impactful! It may not seem that consequential, but you’re impacting two dozen or so people who appreciate what you’re doing, and you can see that it makes a difference.”

The Meals on Wheels program provides nutritious, well-balanced, delicious meals delivered to an older adult’s home by a friendly volunteer. Most Meals on Wheels drivers drive one route a week. It usually takes about two hours to complete and we reimburse you for your mileage.

Millisa, thank you for answering the call to help! Congratulations on being chosen as the Volunteer of the Month!


March 2020 – Meals on Wheels Volunteers

In this “March for Meals” month, we at Senior Services have nominated ALL of our Meals on Wheels drivers as our Volunteers of the Month! Last fiscal year, the 187 Meals on Wheels volunteers delivered 130,759 meals to 983 older adults. Senior Services has 20 routes that go out every day, Monday through Friday, from four of the Activity and Dining Centers. Oh, that’s a lot of routes and that’s a bunch of meals, you might say, but what’s the big deal? The big deal is that those 187 volunteer drivers are fulfilling a basic human need for those 983 older adults. They are feeding someone!

 

Here’s what Meals on Wheels means to the people (and their families) who receive the meals:

“We were hesitant to try Meals on Wheels because we figured the meals couldn’t be as good as our own cooking. But were pleasantly surprised! We weren’t really cooking as much anymore, due to our lack of mobility around the house… Knowing (the meals) are nutritious as well as delicious is GREAT!”

“Since I have been with Meals on Wheels, my blood pressure has gone down a lot and my pre-diabetes is now ‘no.’ I usually never ate fresh or other fruit. I am now eating a good assortment of foods on the menu.”

“I appreciate Meals on Wheels – it makes it easier for me. I do not have to worry about going to a grocery store since we do not have one here in Coleman.”

“We appreciate the volunteers delivery to our door. Good job of making the good variety of food and we eat healthy. Got my husband to eat fish!”

“The people that deliver and anyone I have had contact with are wonderful. To them, I’m not just a name – I’m a person. Thanks to all the wonderful people.”

“The peace of mind this program provides is priceless and is helping (my mother) stay in her home as long as possible… So very grateful.”

Most Meals on Wheels volunteer drivers take one route a week and deliver meals on a predetermined route that takes under two hours to complete. Hot meals are packaged like a frozen dinner and sent out with the cold components of the meal and an evening cold meal (if requested) in a paper bag. The meal sent out is the same as the meal served at our centers that day. The MOW drivers make their stops, taking a hot meal and the cold sack up to the house where they greet the clients with a hearty, “Meals on Wheels” friendly smile. Part of the daily visit is a client well-check, and anything out of the ordinary is noted on the route sheet. A Senior Services staff member will follow up with the clients and/or their emergency contacts after the driver returns to the center. Clients have a hotline that they can call to cancel a meal for any reason, so if they are not home to receive a scheduled meal, a card is left at the home asking them to call us to resume meals.

Thank you, Meals on Wheels volunteers, for your continued service to the older adults of Midland County and congratulations on being chosen as the Volunteers of the Month for March!

“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” — Author Unknown

Meals on Wheels provide nutritious, well-balanced meals, planned and approved by a Registered Dietitian. Eligibility is determined by a Care Coordinator. There is no waiting list for Meals on Wheels. Short term as well as long term service is available. There is no income requirement and meals are offered on a donation basis.


April 2020 – Barb Fenby, Greendale Center Volunteer

Barb Fenby, April Volunteer of the Month, is a center volunteer at the Greendale Activity & Dining Center and has been since before the West Midland Family Center was built! She estimates she started in the late 70s or early 80s, when her parents were coming to the center. Why did she start volunteering?  “Our parents were coming here and they asked my sister and I to come and pour coffee for the participants,” she says, “My mom and dad taught us to help people. I enjoy waiting on people and making people feel good.” Nancy Smith, Greendale Center Director, says, “Barb helped me know what to do each day when I first started here. Every day before she leaves, she wipes the tables and the coffee station. On Fridays, she takes down everything – all the table decorations, sign in table papers – because the room gets used for bingo over the weekend. She’s a very positive person and is always out to help me and others!” Barb says she started out serving coffee and now her main “job” is cleaning up after lunch each day. She still likes to serve coffee – in fact, as I was leaving after our interview for this article, she was pouring coffee for a group that was playing cards! “It makes my day! I love to volunteer for the seniors – they appreciate it so much,” she says.

Barb was an on-call cook for Senior Services for many years but was mostly a stay at home mom to her four children. She now has twelve grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren, most of whom live in the Midland area. She also volunteers for the Alma hospital twice a month and her whole family helps with the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival each year.

Thank you, Barb, for your volunteer spirit! Congratulations on being chosen as the April Volunteer of the Month!