Our community is blessed to have a number of volunteers dedicated to making life easier and more joyful for our residents and staff. As we celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Week April 7-13, we’re putting the spotlight on several of them who make a difference in our community every day.
Larry and Linda DeDonder
For at least three years, Larry and Linda DeDonder have been faithfully visiting our community on Thursday afternoons to pray the rosary with residents and come back once a month to do a communion service. It’s something they got involved with through their church, Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
“It helps us keep tab on the residents’ health and condition and it helps us put them in the mind of spirituality because all of them are Catholic and we feel that helps them maintain contact with the church through us,” said Larry.
The couple also enjoys entertaining the residents by square dancing for them a couple times a year.
“We come out and perform/demonstrate our square dance moves to entertain them. It’s good exercise and good fellowship,” said Larry.
When they’re not volunteering at Presbyterian Manor, Linda volunteers for Birth Right and Larry volunteers with the Retired Volunteer Seniors Program and is on a committee for the Salvation Army and the Didde Student Catholic Center.
“We retired over three years ago, and one of our goals when we retired was to do things together, give back as a couple and set a good example,” said Larry.
Before she got involved with our community’s mission committee, Ann was involved in the early fundraising efforts that helped get Emporia Presbyterian Manor started 35 years ago. In 2000, when her mother moved in to our community, Ann was asked to join the advisory committee, and now serves on the mission committee. If there’s an event with a registration table, you’ll most likely find her there. She especially enjoys the Veteran’s Breakfast and has enjoyed living here since 2017.
“I love this place. This has been dear to my heart for 35 years, and it’s a wonderful place to live. It’s amazing that some of the people who are employed here were here when my mother was here. That doesn’t happen often in a retirement community. It says something about the quality of people they employ. It’s a home community, and you’re family here,” said Ann.
A member of the mission committee for almost a year, Kathryn got involved with our community because a friend of hers works here. Since then, her involvement has grown.
“I’m on the mission committee, and we help with things like the luminary fundraiser and other events. I love meeting the residents and knowing that our work goes to a great cause. Emporia Presbyterian Manor is an amazing place with great staff, and any way I can give back to them, you can count on it,” said Kathryn.
Phyl has volunteered at two Presbyterian Manor communities—she first volunteered at Lawrence Presbyterian Manor from 2006-2009 and has been volunteering in our community since 2015. She is a pastor at Emporia Presbyterian Church, one of the five local churches that provide Sunday afternoon chapel each week. In addition to her pastoral duties, Phyl also serves on our mission committee.
“I love the vibrancy and intentional community of Emporia’s Presbyterian Manor. The residents are a delight to get to know and visit with. The programs I've been able to help with really bring people together, tap into a wide variety of interests, and take seriously the ongoing life and liveliness of the community members. Working with the Manor staff is also quite a joy. Everyone at the Manors takes their job quite seriously and exhibits a very real sense of care and compassion for everyone within the Manor community. To be a small part of such a large, loving group does my soul good,” said Phyl.
Bill moved in to independent living in 2010 and was quick to get involved as a volunteer with resident activities. He especially loves assisting with Bingo and painting classes but it’s not uncommon to find him helping his neighbors get their mail and meals or just walking with them around the campus to provide security and companionship.
“I like living here, volunteering and helping others,” said Bill, shown here enjoying a painting class with Joyce Stolfus.
Other members of the Emporia Presbyterian Manor Mission Committee are John Sanderson, George Walters, Miles Shirk, Robert Symmonds, Don Bailey and Jim Pickert.
Other volunteers at our community are:
- Karen Allen
- Mar Jean Anderson
- Don Bailey
- Nona Berghaus
- Kevin Burkes
- Deb Burns-Heinitz
- Betty Campbell
- LeRoy Damhoff
- Margaret Davidson
- Larry & Linda DeDonder
- Loie Douglas
- Barbara Freerkson
- Breanna Gilger
- Nina Gragg
- Pauleen Hancock
- Myrna Hinz
- Gene & Jan Huston
- John Irsik
- Katherine Martin
- Lee Muller
- Jim Pickert
- John Sanderson
- Miles Shirk
- Phyllis Stutzman
- Robert Symmonds
- Paul Timmons
- George Walters
- Bill Wayman
- Jeremiah Weatherhead
- Brettany Williams
- Aubrey Williams
- Eileen Wright
Thank you, volunteers, for all that you do for us! We appreciate you!
PHOTO: Musical entertainment group, the Sunshine Singers, volunteer at many events and birthday parties around our community. They are pictured in the photo at the top of the page.