by Allison Rossi Utter, Volunteer & Outreach Manager
Joyce Tafel has been named January Volunteer of the Month. Joyce has been volunteering since June 2018 as a Transportation Driver, logging over 435 hours as a transportation driver. Trish Brown, Transportation Manager says, “Joyce is always up to help out when needed – currently she has been driving two mornings a week whether it is a route of only two rides or 4 to 5 rides.” Kathy Burlingame, Transportation Scheduler, adds, “Joyce is always willing to fill in when needed.” Joyce has also delivered Meals on Wheels all through the pandemic, using the safety protocols that we put in place for both our clients and volunteers. Michele Burkett, Food Service Coordinator, says, “She is awesome! Joyce is always smiling, cheerful and will always lend a hand.”
I asked Joyce why she volunteers. “When I retired from teaching, I needed a purpose. I was referred by a friend.” Joyce explained, “I just love taking people to their appointments.” During the start of the COVID pandemic, she had to stop transporting people, however, that did not stop Joyce from volunteering for Senior Services. “I was asked to do Meals on Wheels with a friend. I still do it because now I have my people.”
Joyce was an elementary school teacher who taught the 1st and 2nd grades in Midland. She has two adult children. She also volunteers as a tutor at the Legacy Center three days a week. “I missed the children.” What would Joyce say to someone who is considering volunteering? “I tell everyone to come and sign up. It is so much fun and doesn’t cost you anything but your time.” Joyce concluded our interview telling me that she thinks, “I get more out of it than they do. It is a great place to be, really nice people, always willing to help.”
Transportation Drivers use agency vehicles to take older adults to medical appointments 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! Meals on Wheels deliveries are made Monday through Friday by kind, caring volunteers just like Joyce. They are nutritious, well-balanced and tasty meals planned and approved by a Registered Dietitian. Both volunteer opportunities have safety guidelines in place to protect our clients and volunteers.
If you are in need of any of the programs and services that Senior Services offers, call (989) 633-3700. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, call Allison at (989) 633-3741.
Thank you, Joyce, for your conscientious service to the older adults of Midland County, especially during this time and congratulations on being chosen as Volunteer of the Month!