by Lisa Tome
Jean Anwyll and Miskit Airth are a force with which to be reckoned.
Anwyll's driving and Airth's navigation allow the pair to deliver meals to Cecil's homebound, effortlessly.
Anwyll, 77, of Elkton, retired at 76 from her career as a consultant in the senior living industry. "I've had an interest in the senior lifestyle and their needs for many years. I don't feel like a senior," said Anwyll.
She sees the irony in that her former career had her moving seniors out of their homes into senior living facilities. Now, her volunteer work delivering meals helps seniors stay in their homes.
"I love to drive and I love people," she said.
The work begins about 10 a.m. when the pair pick up 8-10 meals at Union Hospital. "They help load the stuff," said Anwyll. The deliveries include hot and cold meals and separate storage for each - a temperature controlled heating unit and an ice chest.
"I go practice the route the day before. I've seen parts of the county I've never seen before," she said. "There is a lot of senior housing here. It's amazing."
She and Airth deliver to the same homes every other week. They deliver the food and check on the homebound. "You develop a relationship. What you are doing is not about the food. You are confirming their viability and supporting the fact that they are important," she said. "What we are doing is giving back some of their self worth and showing that somebody cares."
"I get fun. I have a day where I have to get going. I get the satisfaction of giving back and meeting people I never would have met," said Anwyll. "It's enjoyable and I look forward to it."
Anwyll said that when she retired, her "to do" list included volunteering and taking piano lessons. She started the piano lessons last week.
Airth, 74, worked as a television producer before her retirement. She said she helped to get the show "Good Morning America" on the air as well as helped pilot programming for QVC.
Airth is stricken with a rare disorder called "frozen gait". That malady means that her feet get stuck at times when she is walking. She walks with two canes.
But that doesn't keep her from serving as the navigator for the home delivered meal runs.
"I don't consider it a handicap," said Airth.
While Anwyll goes into the homes and does the driving, Airth guides the driver and does the paperwork.
Having a partnership on the road came in handy during the winter months when the pair, referred to as "the dynamic duo" by Senior Services staff, helped deliver emergency food rations, designed to hold meal plan participants over during bad weather.
Airth said delivering the meals gives her a feeling of satisfaction and making a difference.
"Anyone can do it. It doesn't take a special background or training. It just becomes part of what you do," Airth said.
The week of April 6-12, 2014 is National Volunteer Week. The week is set aside to recognize those who serve as well as to inspire and encourage others to get involved in volunteering.
For those ages 55 and over, volunteer opportunities are available through the Retired Senior and Volunteer Program (RSVP) for more information about RSVP call 410-996-8416 or on the web go to www.serve2day.org.