Canandaigua VA Medical Center
National Volunteer Week - April 15-21
Ed and Marian Moeller began volunteering on February 21, 2008. Between them they have 2,970 volunteer hours and travel about 30 roundtrip miles from their hometown of Bloomfield, NY to Canandaigua. But the cost of gas hasn’t deterred them. They travel that route 3 or more days a week to visit with Veterans at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center. Ed is Navy Veteran and is retired from 3M; Marian is retired from Bloomfield School System and together their love and hobby is breeding beautiful West Highland White Terriers, Westies!
Randy Norris is a resident of the Canandaigua VA Hospital. He counts Marian and Ed Moeller among his best friends. "To me they're great friends," he says. "You can't beat 'em!"
The Moeller’s began volunteering four years ago. Three days a week, they offer companionship and service to the thirty residents on Gladwin Hall. "If you're able to sit down and listen, these guys are a treasure," Ed says. "They're looking for information and looking to talk with people. It's very rewarding, and you meet some wonderful people."
"Ed and Marian are wonderful really, a great husband and wife team. Voluntary Service enjoys their smiling faces and upbeat demeanour each time they arrive to start their volunteer day." says Robin Johnson, Manager of Community Relations. "They're very enthusiastic and dependable and the Veterans look forward to seeing them."
But their volunteering goes far beyond companion therapy. When a Veteran on the building expressed interest in getting replica copies of his medals, small enough to put on his hat, Ed and Marion went to work to try to find them. And, find them, they did.
To the delight of the Veterans on Gladwin Hall, they have been actively involved in the pet therapy program at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center, and have teamed up with several other pet therapy volunteers for a special visit with several pets in tow.
They take Veterans to church services during the week as well as on weekends, escort Veterans over to the canteen for morning coffee and snack, bring in fresh flowers from their garden, play a variety of games with Veterans and assist with feeding as well as many other tasks that the staff may request of them.
"Everybody knows everybody," Marian says. "I haven't met anybody here that doesn't have a smile. All the staff members know all the guy's names"
Hundreds of volunteers work at the Canandaigua VA. The Moeller’s began after they retired and they've never stopped. Randy says their visits are priceless. "It feels good because it shows that you're wanted," says Randy. "When you come right down to it, it shows that you're wanted."
Ed and Marian Moeller received the “Golden Givers” award from WROC Channel 8, Rochester, NY on October 17, 2011.