Where would Ashe County be without its hundreds of volunteers?
County Volunteer Coordinator Glenda Luther said she knows it would be difficult to provide many of the services for local residents without these generous individuals. They serve in so many different capacities, often anonymously, and with their only compensation the good feelings they get from volunteering and annual recognition through a county-sponsored awards program.
“I just enjoy doing it and seeing the people,” said Orpah Kurtz, who in her 90s is still driving around the county delivering meals to homebound residents through the Ashe Services for Aging’s home delivered meals program.
Orpah has been doing this for 23 years. “This is my main thing,” she said of the meals delivery program. “I like to drive too. I started out one day a week and driving anywhere up to 40 miles on different routes. I’m not doing that many now. Right now I see the same ones all the time, about 15. Some of these people live alone and don’t see anybody else all day and they are just so glad to see you. Once in awhile you can do little things for them, like go to the mailbox and I helped put in a lady’s hearing aids. It makes me feel good doing something for somebody else.”
Betty Ball has been delivering meals for 12 or 13 years, since she retired from nursing. She said she was looking for something to do, and is thankful the Lord allowed her to do this.
“It’s such a blessing to be able to go see the people and talk to them a minute,” she said. “They like that even more than the food.”
Betty delivers meals five days a week. “It’s one of the biggest blessings in my life to be able to do this for people,” she said. “We all have needs in our lives. I need them and they need me. It’s good to help out when you can.”
Orpah said the county needs more volunteers, including in the home delivered meals program. Betty said they don’t know how to encourage others, especially young people to become volunteers, but, “If they would do it for awhile, you probably wouldn’t be able to stop them then.”
“It’s a good opportunity for retired people,” Betty said. “These people appreciate it so much.”
Anyone can learn more about the county’s volunteer needs and opportunities at the Volunteer Fair planned for Wednesday, Sept. 26. The event will take place from 2-6 p.m. in the Ashe Family Central community center, located in the old Ashe Central high school in Jefferson.
Hosted by Ashe County Volunteer Initiative Program and Ashe County Partnership for Children, the Volunteer Fair will bring together people wanting to volunteer and those who need their services. The event encourages participation from any organization wishing to recruit volunteers.
For more information or to reserve a booth, call Glenda Luther at 246-4347.