Mike has been a dedicated volunteer at Leonard Terrace, one of our 18 senior dining sites, since it opened in April. Mike volunteers Monday through Friday and helps with just about everything, from cooking and prepping to cleaning and assembling different projects, he is the go to guy for anyone that needs help! Sandi Derby, the lunch coordinator at Leonard Terrace, calls Mike her “right hand man”.

Mike is a resident at Leonard Terrace and he has been living in the building for about three years now, and has been a helper since the beginning. Born and raised in Carthage, NY, Mike compares Grand Rapids to his hometown, regarding the amount of snow. Mike is a Vietnam veteran and was honorably discharged from the service. He’s had several different kinds of jobs in his life, including that in various restaurants, but most recently Mike drove a truck that carried wind turbines all over 48 states and Canada. Mike has lived in a few different places as well, including North Carolina and Texas.

Mike enjoys walking around the city and the area that he lives, he loves the Gerald R. Ford Museum as well as trying out the many new and different restaurants and eateries that Grand Rapids has to offer. In the winter months, he enjoys puzzles and models. Recently, he took in a rescue cat, Bella, and she has been where he spends most of his time for the last few weeks.

When it comes to volunteering, Mike is simply just happy to help. He says that it gets him out of the apartment and he enjoys helping others out. He is well versed in the food service business with health inspections and codes and is happy to use his knowledge in that to help our dining site because, put simply, “why not?” Sandi could not speak more highly of Mike, she says, “He is always so pleasant to work with. He is here early to set up for the day and helps receive our 7am deliveries and delivers home meals when our driver needs a replacement. He put our new oven together and he never met a project he couldn’t tackle”. Mike also speaks highly of Sandi, saying that working with her is one of his favorite parts of volunteering, as well as being involved with the people of his building. Mike is also a volunteer for the other activities and events going on at Leonard Terrace, no matter what it is-he is there to help. Needless to say, everyone knows Mike, they can rely on him for just about anything, he babysits people’s dogs and he knows all of the bus routes by memory.

We are so thankful for Mike’s commitment to our program and so grateful to have him as a part of our team. We appreciate him, and others like him who give so generously of their time to reach seniors in our community.  Thank you, Mike!