For 76-year-old Paul Goetchius, retirement is not a time for slowing down – rather, he’s speeding up.
He spends much of his time along the open roads of upstate New York. “The greatest joy a person can experience… is the joy that comes from serving other people,” Goetchius said.
Goetchius is behind the wheel of an important initiative, volunteering at On Point for College, a non-profit aimed at serving underprivileged college students.
“If I couldn’t afford the gas or the car, I couldn’t do it. But I can, therefore, I’m happy to do it,” Goetchius said.
The non-profit organization has logged over 442,000 miles, shuttling low-income college students from their hometowns to campus. Goetchius is responsible for over 60,000 of those miles, enough for two trips around the globe.
On the day we met up with Goetchius, he was in Rochester, New York, picking up Ruby Zathang, a sophomore business major at Rochester Institute of Technology and taking her home to Syracuse. Zathang said when she first met Goetchius, she was confused about what she was going to do in the future.
“I had some kind of click with Mr. G. We immediately became friends,” Zathang said. “And I was really excited and curious to see how he, you know, approached college.”
“So Mr. G, you must like to drive,” Dahler said to Goetchius.
“I grew up on a poor dairy farm. If I hadn’t had an education, I know pretty much where I would be today. And that doesn’t look pretty. And you know, having had the college opportunity, I want to see as many young adults get that opportunity,” Goetchius said.
Zathang was born in the country of Myanmar, also known as Burma, and is the eldest of six children. She’s the first in her family to go to college.
Goetchius said it’s “pure joy to see them succeed in what they thought they wanted to do.”
It’s an uncommon connection, and despite the generational gap, it’s the relationships made along the way that keeps Goetchius going.
“I would certainly hope that I contribute everything I can,” Goetchius said.
“He’s being the best version of himself. I like to say that,” Zathang said.
“She taught me that expression. I love that,” Goetchius added.