PWU volunteer of the year donates $1,000 to Kincardine
Day Away Program

By Liz Dadson

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Ron Kirchel (centre, back) presents a cheque for $1,000 to the Kincardine Day Away Program Thursday morning; in the back, are family and client care co-ordinator Susan MacKay (L), program and activities co-ordinator Kylie McDonagh, Ron Kirchel, clients Don Munn and John Gamble, and team clerk Melissa Lamont; in front, are clients Ruth Mueller (L) and Ken Breadner

It's a win-win situation for Ron Kirchel.

The 78-year-old Kincardine resident was named volunteer of the year by the Power Workers' Union (PWU) and was then presented with $1,000 to donate to the Kincardine Day Away Program.

Kirchel volunteers with the Shoreline Team of Home and Community Support Services which operates the Day Away Program.

He is a volunteer driver, Day Away Program driver, and Meals on Wheels volunteer.

As a volunteer driver, he is responsible for transporting and providing assistance to seniors when they require a ride to medical appointments, shopping, banking or errands. Some of these rides are within the local community, while others are quite a distance away to larger medical centres.

"Our volunteers play a vital role in allowing the seniors in our community, who are no longer able to drive themselves, to remain in their own homes for as long as is safely possible," says Jane Hofstetter, Shoreline Team Leader.

Kirchel also drives for the Day Away Program, arriving at the clients' homes, assisting them to the car, ensuring they have the medications or supplies they need for the day, and then returning them home at the end of the day.

"Seniors, who attend our Day Away, are physically frail or cognitively impaired, and the day they spend with us provides a 'day off' for their caregivers and allows them to develop friendships with their peers," says Hofstetter. "Ron (Kirchel) is the first face our clients see in the morning and his role as a Day Away driver is key to the success of the day for our team."

As a volunteer with Meals on Wheels, Kirchel delivers hot and frozen meals in the Kincardine community. Hot, nutritious meals are delivered daily at noon to seniors or adults recovering from illness in the community. Frozen meals are delivered monthly.

"Ron (Kirchel) is dedicated and reliable, tirelessly volunteering his time and talents with Home and Community Support Services," says Hofstetter. "He is one of our most frequently-requested volunteers and he genuinely cares for the seniors in the Kincardine community. He delivers a top-quality experience for our clients and the Shoreline team is grateful that he has chosen to work with our agency."

"I love working with the Kincardine Day Away," says Kirchel. "I was a male nurse - a staff-sergeant - in the Royal Army Medical Corps in England. I have a compassionate streak, and I really care for people."


He says that everyone who works at Day Away deserves credit for this award, not just him. "The staff here has TLC (tender, loving care) in spades. When I received this award and was told I could donate a cheque for $1,000 to the charity of my choice, it was going to the Day Away, no question about it."

Kirchel and his wife have lived in Kincardine for 37 years. He worked at the Bruce Nuclear plant until he retired 20 years ago. The Kirchels have two daughters, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

The PWU Community Volunteer Award is presented every year to a PWU member, in good standing, who is involved in volunteer work on the job or in the community.

Kirchel was chosen from seven nominees across Ontario. He received the award at a dinner and dance held in Toronto at the end of September.

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Tuesday, October 08, 2013