Volunteer Russ Day: Sparking Connections--and Joy

Retired IBM electrical engineer Russ Day knows a few things about making connections. For 35 years he figured out how to channel energy where it needed to go to make things work. Today, after a full career and raising his five sons with his wife Michele, he’s the conduit for adding a spark of joy for residents at Noble Horizons.

Less than a year ago, he began the next chapter of his life, the one where he gives back. “My wife Michele works at Noble in the salon, so it seemed like a natural place for me to volunteer,” recounts Russ.

After completing the volunteer training, he now has a routine at Noble. Most Thursdays, he checks in with Michele at the beauty salon and there he finds his regular card game partners, Helen, Ruthie, and Karen. Despite his best efforts to introduce new games, like any wise man he takes his cue from the ladies, and the ladies prefer Sequence. “They’re not quite so happy when I try another game.,” admits Russ.

After winning and losing a few rounds, he heads up to see Gordon and together they take in a classic war movie and talk about whatever is on their minds on that particular Thursday. Russ is also a regular visitor to the Memory Unit at Noble. “My dad passed away from Alzheimer’s so I know what it’s like. I enjoy talking to the residents there and doing whatever I can to fill their day with something different.” He will often engage one of the residents in a game of UNO.

Russ often stops in at Noble if he happens to be passing through Salisbury on his way back from his workout at the Canaan YMCA. “I sign in at the desk, put on my vest so they know I’m official and head upstairs to the residence,” describes Russ. He makes his way from room to room, stopping in to chat or just say hello.

“I feel fortunate to be able to volunteer,” reflects Russ, ”It’s fun and fulfilling and the staff in the Activities and Recreation department are a wonderful crew.” Words such as appreciative, friendly, outgoing, cooperative, and supportive are the ones he chooses to describe that department’s staff of Lana, Joanna, and Danielle.

Although Russ is a new member of the volunteer team at Noble, he’s making himself an indispensable part of the community. “I didn’t have the time to give back before I retired. I was busy with work, raising the boys, and finishing our home. Now I can do it and it’s something I truly enjoy,” Russ says. When you spend your life creating positive energy, it’s hard to stop--and then you convert it to something new.

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