Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Volunteer Transportation Client Spotlight: Mary Durante

When 80-year-old Mary Durante walks past her car parked in her garage, she pats it and tells it,  “You’re a good car.  It’s not your fault.”  She knows that this vehicle will continue to stay in the same spot, as she is no longer able to take it on any outings or errands.

For Mary, aging has been a process of letting go.  “I used to drive everywhere.  I used to be able to walk all over,” she says as she shares openly about losing her independence and adjusting to the limitations of her older self.

The process of “letting go” has also included a role reversal for Mary.  She has had to make the difficult transition from being the “helper” to the “helped.”  Mary once filled all her time with helping others.  In addition to raising five children, she worked as both a paramedic and high school special education teacher.  She was dedicated to volunteer work for the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and office within her church.  She also served as the caretaker for many friends and family members who’d fallen ill, attending to them in their most vulnerable moments. 

Yet, Mary now spends a lot of her week receiving help.  She has learned to accept support from a variety of people-- including her volunteer drivers from Volunteer Transportation.  She has become quite the unofficial spokesperson for the program and uses any opportunity that she can to tell others about it.  “Without this service, I’d truly be up a creek without a paddle.  It’s a Godsend,” she says.

Mary also enjoys the connections that she has made with her volunteer drivers.  She explains, “They’re like old friends.  If I don’t see a driver for a while, I wonder if something had happened to him or her.  I was concerned about one of the drivers recently, and I found out that he had been sick.  I was happy to hear when he was well again.”  She also adds that she doesn’t get out of the house much and enjoys the opportunity to take off for new scenery.

Growing older is never an easy process, but Mary has attempted to make the best of it by keeping a positive attitude.  She uses resources that are available to assist her and is grateful that Volunteer Transportation can lighten her load as she continues on her journey.

**Postscript: An article featuring Mary Durante and Ron Vandenberg (last week's "Volunteer in the Limelight") can be found here in the October edition of Northwest Primetime.:


Donaald Aaron said...

Nice post. i really like your site. i found it helpful and informative. i think people should go through it.Thank you for sharing.

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“Behind the Wheel” offers stories, reflections, news and updates about Sound Generations’ (formerly Senior Services') Transportation Program. Throughout King County, our inspiring volunteers provide needed mobility to local seniors, supporting them in their efforts to remain independent, healthy, and happy. Please drop by to read more about the unique experiences of our volunteers, clients and staff!
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