Texanthropy Spotlight: Arlen and Mary ‘Beth Lohse – 2017 Governor’s Volunteer Award Winners
Each May is celebrated as Older Americans Month, a time to honor and celebrate the many contributions of our senior citizens. This year the Administration for Community Living, which leads our nation's observance of Older American's Month, has designated the theme as “Engage at Every Age” which emphasizes the many ways older adults make a difference in our communities through service. That is why this week’s Texanthropy Spotlight is on Arlen and Mary ’Beth Lohse, two Senior Corps volunteers in San Angelo, and the 2017 Governor’s Volunteer Awards Senior Corps “Make a Difference” Award winners.
Over 30 years ago, Arlen and Mary ’Beth Lohse began volunteering with Meals for the Elderly in San Angelo as substitute drivers during the holidays and summer months. In 2004, as retirees, they started volunteering full-time through West Texas RSVP, a Senior Corps program that provides volunteers for Meals for the Elderly. Meals for the Elderly serves an average of 650 clients per day on 47 unique routes, and without meals supplied by Meals for the Elderly, many Concho Valley seniors would be prematurely placed in assisted living or nursing homes due to their inability to shop for food or prepare their own meals.
Arlen and Mary ’Beth’s normal schedule is to deliver meals on at least seven routes within a 5-day work week, often serving as substitute or emergency drivers. They also go above and beyond by providing clients with special packages of cookies on milk delivery days, bologna on bread days, lollipops for everyone – including sugar-free lollipops for diabetic clients – or bringing a favorite BBQ sandwich to a homebound, terminally ill senior. Mary ’Beth is known as “The Napkin Lady” for always providing a seasonally inspired napkin with the meals. Arlen and Mary ’Beth have developed relationships and friendships that go beyond just bringing meals to their neighbors. Some of these friendships have continued even as their clients moved into assisted living facilities or nursing homes, where they continue their visits.
Many in the San Angelo community say there is no one who does more for Meals for the Elderly or the organization’s clients than Arlen and Mary ’Beth Lohse. They are mentors, role models, and living examples of what is the absolute very best of humanity.
Congratulations to Arlen and Mary ’Beth Lohse, the 2017 Governor’s Volunteer Awards Senior Corps “Make a Difference” Award Winner!