McCormick Home volunteer Gary Dallner (left) enjoys a visit with resident Eleanor Verdone.
Gary Dallner’s journey as a McCormick Home volunteer came as a natural extension of the time he spent visiting the home to see his father back in 1983. During these visits, the now-retired high school teacher took notice of those residents who had no friends or family to connect with and began to casually strike up a conversation or two. “I really enjoyed it,” says Gary. “I was starting to think that they were getting something out of it, too.”
It wasn’t long before he noticed that his new friends began to look forward to his visits, which soon became a regular occurrence. The memories of this experience stayed with him, and Gary began volunteering at McCormick Home for one-on-one visits with residents in 2008. A friendly and outgoing person, Gary considers himself more of a friend to the residents than a volunteer. “I get a lot of warm fuzzies doing this and I’m sure they do, too.”
Gary’s dedication to his calling is demonstrated in the more than 1,000 individual visits he’s made since starting his volunteer work at the home. A meticulous record keeper, Gary prides himself on keeping notes of all his appointments, sending reports to the home’s recreation staff, and planning his future visits.
So what’s Gary’s advice for future volunteers? “Make sure you come in with the idea that you’re going to try to make someone’s life a little better.”