Conversations walking the indoor track led to volunteering

This is the second of a series on why people volunteer with Community Caregivers. What led them to pick up the phone and call Community Caregivers to make an appointment for an orientation?

Jerry Ostrander shares his story.

Jerry started with Community Caregivers in February 2010. Since then, he’s provided transportation for clients to various appointments.

When I asked him what the impetus was for him to contact the Caregivers, he said, “That’s a tough question.” After some thought, he said, “God has blessed me beyond measure during my lifetime, and I feel strongly about the need to give back whenever possible.”

He went on, “I’ve been blessed with a nice comfortable retirement, a nice vehicle, the physical ability to drive.” So he decided to provide transportation “…as requested and when convenient to my schedule.”

Jerry learned a lot about Caregivers when he walked the indoor track at the Guilderland Y with Tom Morrison. The “why” he joined resulted from the multiple conversations he and Tom had. Tom volunteers for the Caregivers, too.

“It is clearly a discussion and subsequent decision I am very happy about,” Jerry said. He believes volunteering is important because he feels “…a personal responsibility to help others.” He added, “Maybe more personally gratifying is the reality that my life is so enriched by serving others,” even when all he does is provide a ride to an appointment.

The assignments Jerry has allow him to develop friendships. For example, for three years he drove a client to visit his wife at a nursing home. He said you can’t drive someone for three years and not get to know them. “I have always received more than the service I provide,” he said.

Mary Morrison, Caregivers’ Transportation Coordinator, gets kudos because she knows Jerry likes a “regular, weekly assignment,”  since it allows him flexibility. When Mary calls for an additional assignment, he is very willing if his schedule permits.

Transportation continues to be the most requested service. In June, there were 249 requests for that service alone. Jerry took one client to visit his wife; he now has another client he takes to therapy two times a week.

Keeping folks in their homes and helping them maintain their independence is what Community Caregivers is about. Check out the website: Our number is 456-2898. Or talk to Jerry. Say happy birthday if you see him; it was Aug. 24.