For Bob Young, volunteering isn’t only a part of retirement. It’s part of life and what keeps him involved.
Whether it’s at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple, the Mandel Jewish Community Center’s Men’s Club or the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Young stays, well, young by giving back.
Some of his past endeavors include working with the Sierra Club, the USO, the Beachwood Chamber of Commerce and volunteering in the office of former lieutenant governor of Ohio Lee Fisher when he was running for governor.
CJN: What inspired you to be involved?
Young: I always felt that you have to contribute back to the community. I’m a very lucky guy in that aspect – I can pay my rent and I have fairly good health. You have to give back. I feel like it’s a part of life. You have to share and give back when you can. We have a lot of things in this country that are given to us. A lot of people work very hard to keep those liberties. You have to help other people do the same. And to tell you the truth, it makes you feel good too.
When I come back from the VA, I’m exhausted but it makes me feel good inside.
CJN: Why is volunteering with veterans important to you?
Young: I was a member of the U.S. Army in the 1950s. I was in Germany for 21 months. I was with the Second Armored Division and I repaired tanks and radios. Being in Germany during that time, it was shocking. It was completely destroyed. I wasn’t in combat though, I went after the war.
When you see the way (veterans) live, it’s a whole new life. You’re helping a veteran – and you’re not a nurse or doctor, you’re another veteran. I’m someone whom they can talk to and relate to. It takes their mind off of their situation.
It also makes me feel good. It’s really helpful for them. They aren’t in great shape when they return home.
CJN: What is your favorite volunteering memory?
Young: I don’t know about having favorite memories, there are so many. But, if you asked me what the most important volunteer job I’ve had, it would be with the VA hospital. They are helping people who are beginning to show signs of Alzheimer’s disease or dealing with spinal injuries. These people have to live in their bed or wheelchair knowing they are never going to leave the VA and go home. That is probably the most emotional volunteering that I have ever done.
CJN: How does your Jewish heritage relate to your community involvement?
Young: When you’re Jewish, you’re Jewish and it’s taught to you. I wasn’t very into (Judaism) growing up. But when I got married and had kids, I wanted my kids to know the history of us Jews. I felt that it was important. So, that inspired me to get more involved. I then noticed that (volunteering) was a large part of our whole tribe.
CJN: How do you suggest other people get involved in their community?
Young: We live in a pretty nice community. So, take your interests and look for something that matches them. Have that push you. It’s really just helping someone that needs help. It’s that simple. Things like that make you feel good. And, volunteering can be fun. You meet new people and you’re helping people. It’s something everyone should do at least once.
As for the rest of Young’s retirement, he plans on doing more of the same.
“I am not changing anything,” he explained. “I am going to be volunteering wherever and whenever I can. Whenever there is something I know I can contribute to and make it better, I will not hesitate to do it. But I’ll also play a few golf games in between.”