“Folks just love him here. He’s such a huge help to us and we wanted to let him know how much we appreciate him,” Hickok Center’s Beth Sheldon says of volunteer Larry Preston.
Preston has been volunteering at the Hickok Center for Brain Injury for two years and has made a big difference.
“When I retired, I wanted something I would get out and see some people, talk to people, and interact,” said Preston.
Webb King, a member at the center says, “It’s been an honor to meet him as a friend and a person, and I wish there was more people like him in the world.”
Preston has built fences for the center, worked with members on computers, and has completed woodwork. He has become part of the family.
“Mainly, just him being around the area,” said member Steve Campbell. “He’s a very nice, somewhat funny man.”
“He’s always got a story to tell you in conversation,” said King. “He kind of reminds me of my older brother because he always wears flannel, same as my brother Jim.”
Sheldon adds, “I don’t know what we would do without Larry at this point. I feel like he’s such an intricate part of the program now.”
But Preston credits others, “The dedication of the people here is really extraordinary and it just kind of rubs off on everybody else.”
Preston has worked with people with disabilities before. The Hickok Center says his patience and compassion make him so successful with members there. He has many regulars to his weekly woodworking activities.
“It’s fun to get down here and just engineer, or just create different things with the wood and with Larry,” Campbell says.
Sheldon adds, “It’s a unique program for them. It’s something that they’re not usually able to do by themselves, or at home.”
But Larry doesn’t consider himself, or anything he does, extraordinary. He says volunteering has given him more than he is able to give back.
“They teach me patience. In their normal day, they’re getting up, getting dressed, getting transportation, just arriving here they’ve put in more of a day than I do.”
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