Since retiring six years ago as a respiratory therapist, Paul Smith has volunteered for JFS Ann Arbor in multiple roles. As patient concierge, he drove clients to and from their medical appointments. He also worked as a mover to help refugee families get settled in their new homes.
Since COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, Paul found another way to help refugee families. He had a few bikes in his garage that were no longer being used, but he knew they could be valuable transportation for families. He cleaned and greased the bikes, aired up the tires, and then offered them to JFS. One bike was given to the father of one of our refugee families. The father does not drive, so the bike has helped tremendously. He uses it every day to get to his job, so he can support his family.
Paul has also stepped up to help with bike repairs when JFS has received a request. He considers himself a “broker” because he likes to pick up things that people no longer need or want. He invests a little time in cleaning and light repairs to turn them around for someone who can then use the items.
Paul finds volunteer work very rewarding and a good reminder to practice gratitude. When he had direct contact with people as a patient concierge he enjoyed speaking with the clients and learning about their lives. “My life is easy compared to all they have gone through,” said Paul.
On behalf of all of the JFS clients you have served, we thank you very much!