Back to Blog

Volunteers use personal interests to fulfill resident needs

Some volunteers come to Presbyterian Manor in search of ways they can lend a hand to those in need, but for others, the opportunities find them.

Husband and wife, Merle and Lois Zuehl were volunteering on campus one Sunday evening when they overheard a group of women who wanted to play bridge but couldn’t find a fourth player.

That’s when the Zuehls, who have been playing bridge together since the early 70s, found their calling and set up a weekly, Friday-afternoon game with several healthcare residents—providing a valuable connection to those outside the community.

“It brings the outside world in since they can’t go out and play with their friends,” said Lois. “They are so happy when they can play cards, and it’s a two-way street.”

While the Zuehls’ volunteer work is first and foremost about the residents, Merle agrees that the benefits go both ways.

“It’s just a joy to see them have a good time,” said Merle

The effects of their time on campus even has the Zuehl’s thinking about their own future.

“I hope somebody plays cards with me when I’m old,” said Lois.

Another volunteer who seemed to fall into her work with Presbyterian Manor is Della Mae Harr.

Della Mae, who has been playing the piano since the age of eight, began playing the piano here when her sister was a resident.

“She always wanted me to play the piano for her, so I’d bring her wheelchair down to the piano,” said Della Mae. “They heard me and asked me if I’d like to play in other aspects.”

Today, Della Mae plays piano at the community on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and most Fridays in various locations and a wide variety of settings. It’s a schedule that would wear out most musicians, but at 85, Della Mae is on a mission.

“It keeps me pretty busy, but I really appreciate the opportunity to minister to those dear people,” said Della Mae. “They become like a second family.”

In addition to her appearances here, Della Mae performs at numerous communities throughout Newton, however it is Presbyterian Manor that holds a special place in her heart.

“I sure appreciate Presbyterian Manor, it’s such a wonderful facility, and if I ever have to live outside my home, that’s where I will live,” said Della Mae.

Volunteer Appreciation Week is April 7-13. Thank you, volunteers, for all that you do for us! We appreciate you!

Back to Blog