Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, March 8, 1999

Volunteers get more than they give

By Andrea Vargo

If people could realize the personal satisfaction from volunteering, said Welton Zander of Howard Lake, more people would do it.

Zander and Joe Ostgulen are the two people area coordinator Donna Haglin relies on in Howard Lake to drive for the people in the area who are unable to get transportation for doctor appointments and other things.

More drivers are needed, said Zander. Waverly and Montrose don't have any, and more drivers in Howard Lake would make life easier for both Zander and Ostgulen.

Sometimes people can be a little selfish and don't want to give their time, said Zander.

"But I look at it this way. Someday I may need the same services," he said.

Zander has driven for Wright County Social Services for 25 years.

"We owned the bowling alley, and when I retired, someone told me I should do some volunteering, and I did.

"I was area coordinator for six or eight years, and then I wanted to slow down a little," he said.

Zander said being a driver requires patience and a good book. Ostgulen agrees.

Zander recruited Ostgulen into the ranks of volunteer drivers as soon as Ostgulen retired. So much for a life of total leisure.

"As soon as I retired, I got behind. I haven't caught up yet," said Ostgulen.

He and Zander drive two or three days a week sometimes and then there may be nothing for a week.

Sometimes you have to say no. Even though volunteers give a lot of time for others, they stress the importance of putting your own family first. Sometimes the distance is just too far, or it will take too long for the volunteer's day.

Zander said he really only wants to drive for people in this area, not in Monticello or Buffalo.

Most people appreciate the services provided by the volunteer drivers, said Ostgulen.

A thank you is always appropriate, but occasionally people offer money. This is not accepted by volunteers, said Zander.

The system does have abuses, though. Ostgulen said there are people who use it, who could be transported by friends or relatives.

Volunteers drive their own vehicles, but they get mileage and coverage under the county's insurance policy.

There are some people in Howard Lake who help others, but they don't take advantage of the protection of that insurance policy, stated Zander.

He said, those people really should think about joining the volunteer drivers for the county.

Just fill out a form and answer your phone, that's how easy it is, said Zander.

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