Friday, June 29, 2012

In Praise of Senior Volunteers

I spent Wednesday gutting a house. It had been severely damaged by a tornado last spring and I'm part of a church-led disaster recovery team that's going to re-build it so the couple who lived there can come home.

As you've probably noticed, I'm a grandmother.  No spring chicken.  But I was by no means the senior member of the work team that went out on Wednesday.  If fact, I think I was one of the younger ones.  Almost everyone there was, if not eligible for Medicare, at least ready for AARP.  We put in ten hours of manual labor, got that house completely stripped and ready to begin re-building on our next trip.


I wasn't.  I worked for the American Red Cross for twenty years.  Although my paid position was a desk job, I had the opportunity to work a number of national disasters.  You know who I was working alongside much of the time?  Yep - a whole lot of seniors. 

That's not to say there weren't plenty of younger volunteers as well. I am in awe of those volunteers who use their annual vacation or even take unpaid leave from their jobs to go to a disaster site and do whatever needs to be done. These people are phenomenal and I salute every one of them.

But seniors get a bad rap sometimes.  They're a drain on the country's resources.  Medicare. Social Security.  (We have the nerve to think we should get back some of that money we've been paying into the system for the last seventy years.)  Hell, NBC even cancelled Harry's Law - not for poor ratings but because the show's viewers were too old.

Are you a fan of statistics? I found a couple.
  • Between 2008 and 2010, 18.7 million older adults contributed over 3 billion hours of service.
  • Yearly value of this service to the U.S. economy was over $64 billion.
  • 52% of seniors volunteer their time to unpaid community service.
Is there a point to all this?  Maybe not.  I guess I just wanted to thank all those seniors who have earned the right to kick back and relax but choose instead to rebuild someone's home, work a disaster shelter, feed the hungry, comfort the sick and disdraught, care for the homeless, give underprivleged kids a leg up, try against all odds to protect the environment, etc.   
Okay, that's all.  Have a great weekend.  See you on Monday.
Friday Bloopers - medical variety:
Patient has left white blood cells at another hospital.
Rectal examination revealed a normal size thyroid.  (ow!)

Both breasts are equal and reactive to light and accommodation.


Carol Kilgore said...

I'm still laughing out loud at the last blooper. My girls say hi :)

Julie Dao said...

Wonderful! I love hearing about community volunteer efforts of all kinds, regardless of how old the participants are! It really is an incredibly rewarding experience. Good for you and thanks for sharing the bloopers - LOL.

Linda G. said...

Breasts reactive to accommodation? Ha!

And hooray for your spirit of volunteerism. You rock. :)

Cate Masters said...

I am in awe of groups like yours. The church I used to work for did amazing jobs like that, always helping when needed. High fives all around, cuz (yep, Masterson's my maiden name).

Linda Hoye said...

Hi KD, I'm here from Tossing it Out. I think those of us "of a certain age" have it the best! We've usually earned and learned enough to be in a position to give back, and in doing so often find more richness in these older years than we could have ever imagined. Kudos to you for all that you're doing to give back.

Linda Hoye said...

And sorry for the typo LD!

Maria Zannini said...

Seniors are a lot tougher than they are given credit. I hope I'm still that spry when I hit my 70s--if I don't kill myself on the farm first. :)

Have a great weekend! Hope you're resting.

Arlee Bird said...

I probably should be doing more than what I do. Kudos to you who are making a difference in our society.
Our ranks are growing.

Tossing It Out

LD Masterson said...

Carol - Now I'm LOL

LD Masterson said...

Julie - You'd be surprised what us old fogies can do.

LD Masterson said...

Linda G. - Thanks. (And I deliberately saved the best blooper for last. Too funny.)

LD Masterson said...

Cate - Cousin!! Thanks for the high fives.

LD Masterson said...

Linda H. - Well said. And thanks for following me over from Lee's blog. I've returned the favor.

LD Masterson said...

Maria - That's a big IF considering some of the stuff you get into.

LD Masterson said...

Lee - Gray power and all that.

LD Masterson said...

By the way - My apologies for the delayed response to everyone's comments. We had a big storm roll through here yesterday afternoon and it took all the power lines with it. (80 mph straight winds!) So I'm just getting back on line and catching up. Have a great weekend.

Ciara said...

My parents retired years ago, but they just became eligible for social security. It amazes me that it probably won't be around by the time we retire. We need to save even more than our parents did if we hope to retire. Crazy stuff.

LD Masterson said...

Ciara - Hopefully if SS folds you'll be able to put your retirement savings into a plan of your choice instead of having to pay into a plan that doesn't want to give back when you need it.