Mike has been volunteering at Leonard Terrace helping to deliver meals to clients for about three years. As a resident in the building, Mike helps with many other tasks as well, including cleaning the community room and kitchen, helping shuttle other residents to their appointments or to the grocery store, on top of delivering meals to the Meals on Wheels clients. He is the right-hand man, always willing and able to help others out, which is the precise reason we are so grateful for Mike’s help within our organization.
Mike was born and raised in Grand Rapids and is proud to call it home for so many years. After finishing school, he enlisted into the Army and served for 10 years. When he returned home, he got a job as construction worker and installed ceramic tile for the next 30 years. He suffered a few setbacks that retired him from the business, he had a heart attack and had several heart surgery’s that forced him to use a walker. However, he was bound and determined to not have to use the walker for the rest of his days and worked hard in his recovery process to a point where he no longer has to rely on the walker! Mike says he feels healthier than he has in a long time, and he attributes this health to his active body and mind. He takes classes that are offered at Leonard Terrace, including a mindfulness class, as well as yoga and Tai Chi. He meditates daily and participates in acupuncture therapy, using more natural remedies to cope with aches and pains. Mike says, “The more active you are, in the body and the mind, the better you’ll feel, and I think that has something to do with longevity of life too.”
To contribute to that aspect of staying active, Mike does a lot of volunteering. Not only is he helping Meals on Wheels by delivering meals, as well as helping Leonard Terrace with other tasks, but he is active in the community as well. He volunteered with last years Tour De Care, at a hospice facility, an annual run partnered with Founders and at the Vietnam Wall Memorial in Grand Rapids. He likes to keep busy, because it keeps him healthy and young he says. “I’m at an age where I want to give back, and I’m looking back and reflecting on my life. We should be helping our neighbors, I was raised that way,” Mike says. A social worker recommended Mike to fill a spot to help deliver meals in the building for Meals on Wheels clients, and Mike has been proud to hold that position ever since. He thinks it is “necessary to be checking in on people that are homebound, because they don’t get out and its nice to be the one to check in on them and make sure they’re okay, it makes them feel better and it makes me feel better inside too. I don’t want to do nothing all day, you get old that way. And I’m fortunate, I’ve got my health and a car, and I can put that to good use, why not help others?”
Mike’s humility is one of the reasons why we are so thankful for his time helping others in need and helping to achieve our mission at Meals on Wheels. His favorite part of volunteering is seeing the end result of it all. Giving meals to people who need it, seeing the appreciation on their face, it makes it all worth it, he says. He wants to thank the people that help and support him in his volunteering, Brooke, Erin, Jake, Jill, Kathy, Lynn, Mark, Vickie, his family, friends and neighbors.
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 homebound seniors in our community. Thank you, Mike!