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Volunteering is a win-win

Solon Senior of the Year: Dave Frisbie
Solon Senior Advocates’ Senior of the Year Dave Frisbie is happy to be out and about volunteering to fill needs in the community. (photo by Nora Heaton)

SOLON– Why volunteer?
“I hadn’t thought about it,” said Solon Senior Advocates’ Senior of the Year honoree Dave Frisbie. “I think of all the people who have volunteered before me, and I just do it.”
Having always been service-oriented, his main concern was not whether to volunteer but how and where to do it. He settled on a few key areas in his life: helping maintain trails at Lake Macbride, driving for Table to Table and the Solon Senior Advocates, and doing chores for seniors at no charge.
And when he dedicates himself to service work, he’s in it for the long haul: he’s been doing most of these volunteer jobs for more than five years, and has been active in his Table to Table route for more than 11 years.
On his weekly Table to Table route, Frisbie “rescues” food donations from grocery stores and restaurants and delivers them to local shelters and pantries. After completing his regular route, he brings the remaining food to the Solon Food Pantry.
“I’d heard about food rescue, and it was such a no-brainer that I thought it was something I’d like to be involved in,” he said. “I like knowing I’ve prevented a loss of good food and have helped someone get the food they need. Making that match is very rewarding.”
He also drives the mini-bus, as needed, for Solon Senior Advocates trips and events. President of the Advocates Sandy Hanson said Frisbie was chosen as one of the Senior of the Year honorees because of his many forms of service.
“He’s a very giving person, and we’re grateful to have him with our pantry,” she said.
Frisbie also does household maintenance and chores, primarily for seniors, all for free, after he noticed there were local seniors who needed light help around the home. He formalized it and gave it a name: Solon Senior Services. The idea is to help seniors maintain their independence by performing chores they either can’t afford to have professionally done or can’t arrange hired help for. It can be challenging, for instance, to hire a professional to change a light bulb or reach something off a top shelf with a stepladder, Frisbie pointed out.
He always gets thanks, and some people even write him notes of appreciation. Follow-up calls with new requests are another indication of appreciation in Frisbie’s eyes. Sometimes there’s back and forth about payment. If a person insists on paying him, Frisbie asks them instead to make a donation to a local church– either the Solon United Methodist Church, which he regularly attends, or their own.
Frisbie, who lives next to Lake Macbride, also helps the park staff by volunteering to clear brush and invasive plants, maintain trails, and do whatever else needs to be done.
“I love being outside, and it’s good for my health,” he said. “For me, it was a really good fit, a win-win.”
After spending years as a University of Iowa faculty doing “inside” work, he’s happy to have “outside jobs” as a volunteer.
“There are all kinds of ways to volunteer,” he said. “And there are plenty of people more deserving (of this award).”