In his 1989 inaugural address, President George H.W. Bush compared America’s volunteer organizations to “a thousand points of light,” spread like stars overlooking the nation. In 1991, as part of his 1,000 Points of Light campaign to support volunteerism, he designated April as National Volunteer Month. Years later, Bush said, “Points of Light are the soul of America. They are ordinary people who reach beyond themselves to touch the lives of those in need, bringing hope and opportunity, care and friendship.”
John Newman, a resident of The Reserve at Hamilton Trace, is one of these people. For the past 17 years, he has volunteered two days a week at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Carmel. He helps in any way he can, from delivering items for doctors and nurses to making patients’ beds and putting smiles on their faces.
“I love the people here. They’re good to me, and they put up with my humor,” he said with a hearty chuckle. “It’s especially rewarding to help people in pain and make their day a bit brighter. I feel like I was called to do this. It’s my duty.”
John is one of many residents who serves the community through volunteer work. The Reserve has a new volunteer group called S.W.A.T.T. (Seniors with Available Time and Talents). The group currently has four volunteer efforts on the docket: assisting shoppers at Gleaners Food Bank; distributing snacks and water at the finish line of the Parkinson’s Foundation “Choose to Move” 5K race; assembling meal kits and toiletry bags for the Fishers UMC Food Pantry; and serving as shuttle attendants for the Spark! Fishers festival this summer.
S.W.A.T.T. aims to have a consistent local presence and serve as an inspiration for other Hoosiers to volunteer throughout the community.
“We are excited to have this group and see it continue to grow,” said Paula Elliott, concierge at The Reserve and the founder of S.W.A.T.T. “We encourage our residents to explore and contribute to the community. This group is a great step forward in that continued effort.”
John credits the compassionate atmosphere of The Reserve for compelling him to continue volunteering. His voice quivers with emotion when he speaks about the kindness that spreads throughout the community.
“The people here have such caring hearts,” he said. “They create a warm, positive environment that I feel lucky and proud to call home.”