by Tina Podboy Laughner, Volunteer & Outreach Manager
John and Paula Wetherell have been chosen as Volunteers of the Month for March for their work with the Meals on Wheels program, Team Handyman and Remembering When. How did they come to volunteer for Senior Services? “After we retired we found ourselves with extra time,” John said. “Our children are grown and raising their families. Senior Services had a booth at the Midland Mall (Senior Expo) and we found out they needed Meals on Wheels drivers at the Greendale Center. We live in that area and decided to help out. We deliver one route per week and sub as needed.” Paula adds, “I volunteer because I can. Helping someone, be it by delivering meals or visiting with my therapy dog is very rewarding. It gives me a feeling of purpose while contributing to my community.” Nancy Smith, recently retired Greendale Center Director says, “John and Paula have been a great help with driving for Meals on Wheels. They are there at a minute’s notice. They know both of Greendale’s routes and are always looking to serve with a smile.”
John also volunteers for the Team Handyman Program where volunteers do small tasks to make clients’ homes more safe and secure. “I have worked with my hands all my career, knowing a little about most everything around a house. I joined Team Handyman and found my niche.” Kim Short, Care Coordinator, said of John, “(He) did some safety installs recently and was able to get them done very quickly and he also noted some other suggestions/comments to keep me and the other Care Coordinators informed of other possible client needs.” Kris Recker, Team Handyman Manager says, “John is a wonderful asset to Team Handyman. He has used his extensive experience in carpentry, construction and general handyman skills to help many folks that would go without much-needed health and safety repairs. He is always willing to help and has a very caring demeanor.”
Some members of Team Handyman also help with a program called Remembering When where a pair of people – one recorder and one handyman – go into a client’s home (pre-COVID) and evaluate their risk for falls and fire. Paula and John do this together – we’re a team, John says – with Paula going through the risk assessment checklist with the client and John installing smoke detectors if necessary. Together with all of their Senior Services volunteer endeavors, they have donated almost 650 hours of their time! What do they get out of volunteering? “I enjoy meeting all the various people and helping them. I met a man who trained my dad when he went to work for Dow in 1946. I met a lady whose grandfather was my grandmother’s brother. We had never met before,” John says. “Some people need so much yet ask for so little that my heart breaks that I can’t do more.”
In addition to the volunteering that they do together, Paula also has joined Therapy Dog International with their dog, Jack. They take the winter off – you can see in the photo that they are in warm weather – but look forward to helping out with the Meals on Wheels and Team Handyman programs when they return. “Volunteering gives us a chance to help others and feel like we are helping in a small way.”
To learn more about Meals on Wheels, Team Handyman and other services, call Senior Services at (989) 633-3700. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, call Tina at (989) 633-3741.
Thank you, Paula and John, for the many volunteer opportunities you have undertaken and your willingness to help the older adults of Midland County. You are much appreciated!