Though retired for the past 26 years and just one month shy of his 87th birthday, Preston Wollett is a very busy man.
Wollett, a resident of Perry Hall for 35 years, has been an active volunteer at the , the Dunfield/Fullerton AARP Chapter and —to mention a few organizations. Wollett also operates a charity program in his late wife's name, The Mary Wollett Charity Fund, which helps support programs at Perry Hall United Methodist Church and makes donations to about 25 charity organizations. He also makes time for his two children, Stephen C. Wollett and Judith A Konig.
, director of the Seven Oaks Senior Center, said Wollett's volunteerism is an example to others. "Preston's selfless commitment to serving others is an inspiration to all those his work has touched and lasts a lifetime to those who see his vision and work in motion," Kennedy said.
Patch spoke with Wollett about his experiences through the years as a volunteer. The following question and answer interview has been edited for length and content.
Q: How long have you been a volunteer?
A: Since 1946, following the war.
Q: Why did you get involved?
A: I suspect one would say I’m a compassionate person who values the importance of others.
Q: What tasks do you perform as a volunteer?
A: I’ve served two terms each as a president and vice president [at the Seven Oaks Senior Center], that amounts to eight years. I have also served on the board for about the same length of time. I also work in the kitchen, at flea markets and many other events.
I have also served as president and vice president at the Dunfield/Fullerton AARP Chapter for approximately 10 years. In 2009, I chaired the Day of Service Program that gave the Loch Raven Community Living & Rehabilitation Center 140 gifts on two occasions.
In 2010, I supplied many gifts to the Manor Care Assisted Living Center.
This year, I am supporting the Baltimore women's detention center and the Perry Hall United Methodist Church's food bank. I also work in the church’s kitchen on occasions and at the flea market.
Q: How does volunteering make you feel?
A: It has taught me to understand that there are people and issues in life, which are far more important than wealth. That to show love and respect paints a true picture of one’s inner self. To see the joy on one face who is less fortunate elevates me beyond words.
Q: How can other community members get involved?
A: For one to volunteer, they must ask themselves the following questions:
- Am I a compassionate person?
- Am I flexible when dealing with others?
- Am I doing it for personal gain or ego?
- What do I have to offer?
- Do I enjoy challenges?
Remember, you have a gift to give to others, yourself.