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Long-time volunteer driver retires

Lorna MacDonald, from Community Care, presents a certificate of appreciation to volunteer driver Peter Jaehrling to mark his retirement after driving seniors for 18.5 years.

Lorna MacDonald, from Community Care, presents a certificate of appreciation to volunteer driver Peter Jaehrling to mark his retirement after driving seniors for 18.5 years.

Peter Jaehrling has been making sure seniors get to their medical appointments for the last eighteen and a half years. Peter’s version of the story is that it was his wife Doris who wanted to sign up to be a volunteer driver for Community Care. They both signed up, and when Doris had finished volunteering, Peter took the wheel instead.

At an event to mark Peter’s retirement, co-ordinator Lorna MacDonald said “Peter has always been a willing driver and often we had to wait on the phone while Doris called him in from the barn.” Peter is an avid bird lover and has a number of parakeets and canaries, becoming somewhat of an expert on them.

Community Care offers an escorted volunteer driving program to help seniors get to medical appointments and do essential shopping. Many people are drawn to the activity of driving seniors.

“I enjoy meeting new people and helping those in this community,” said one driver. “Being involved in this program keeps me active and interested. Driving older people makes me feel younger and gets me out of the house.”

Community Care staff place a high value on the time of volunteers and works with them to make sure the experience fits with their schedule.

“We strive to create a process where our drivers can always tell the office staff that they are unavailable, without any regrets,” said Executive Director Debbie MacDonald Moynes.

She notes there are benefits both for the seniors who are clients of this program and for the volunteer as well and reminds that studies show that volunteers live longer, healthier, happier lives.

“Peter has been faithfully driving seniors to appointments for the past 18 and half years,” said MacDonald. “You really have helped countless seniors continue to live at home. You may not think of it in those terms but that is the valuable work you’ve been doing.”

To get involved as a driver call the Community Care office and arrange a time to meet with a staff person to start the conversation about volunteering. If you need a ride, call 613-476-7493.

CommCarebuttonThe Prince Edward County Community Care for Seniors Association offers services such as Meals on Wheels, transportation to medical appointments, noon-time dinners for seniors, foot care, help with forms (including Income Tax), respite, home maintenance, rural route reassurance and telephone reassurance programs.

The agency is partly funded by the Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care through the Local Health Integration Network and supported by donations and community fundraising efforts, such as Community Care’s Thrift Shop at 153 Main Street. The Community Care office is now located at 74 King Street in Picton (the former Health Unit building).

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