April is National Volunteer Month, which is a time to celebrate the remarkable ways Concordia volunteers serve our residents, patients and families every day. With the helping hands of our volunteers, many more lives are filled with joy, fellowship and inspiration. Each week for the month of April, we’ll introduce you to a volunteer whose acts of service have touched many lives. This week, three Concordia of the South Hills residents share their story.
The Harmony Room at Concordia of the South Hills is the center of activities for residents. Programming comes in all forms – from movies and musicians to lecture series and special events – and all require a behind-the-scenes crew to operate the audio and video systems properly. Retirement living residents Omer McGee, Chuck Vogel and Margaret Zabo have volunteered to rotate coverage for the various performances and presentations during evenings and weekends for the last two years.
Following the expansion of the Multi-Purpose Room in December of 2014, RJ Maruscak, an employee in the Information Technology Department, trained Chuck, who had moved to Concordia with his wife Brenda only a year before.
“I guess it was a matter of being at the right place at the right time,” Chuck joked.
Having retired in 1991 from Westinghouse, where he built nuclear reactors, Chuck was a natural to learn how to operate the necessary equipment for the newly named Harmony Room. He then recruited Margaret Zabo and Omer McGee.
Each month they go through the calendar and volunteer for the events that fit into their schedules.
“My records show that we assisted with over 39 weekend and evening events last year,” Chuck said. “Routinely, there are at least two speakers every month – the Veterans Breakfast Club and a current events discussion. Once a week, (local author) Elaine Wertheim does an art history presentation; monthly movies are shown on Sunday afternoon and a foreign film on Monday night, plus bingo and book club round out the routine.”
Born and raised in Mt. Lebanon, Chuck and Brenda looked everywhere for a community they loved before they chose Concordia.
“The physical layout could not be better for us,” he said. “Brenda knew Margaret through church bell choir and fell in love with her apartment.”
Coincidentally, each of this trio of techy residents chose the same apartment plan of the 11 offered.
Chuck was drawn to the woodshop and keeps even more busy making furniture. He carved the lectern in the Harmony Room, and his living room houses only his handmade furniture. When he’s not in the woodshop or the multi-purpose room, he is working on behalf of Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church.
Margaret and Dan Zabo made their home at Concordia in June of 2011. Dan had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, and they knew members of their church who lived here. In addition to volunteering on the Food Committee and the Play Readers group, Margaret anxiously awaits the coming of spring to improve her golf game.
“I took golf as a physical education class in college and always wanted to play,” she said.
But there didn’t seem to be any time to concentrate on the game as the couple raised three children.
It wasn’t until she retired from Mellon Financial (now BYN Mellon) Charitable Gift Services Administration in 2004 that she got serious about her wish. Having lived in South Hills for the past 41 years, she golfs twice a week at Mt. Lebanon Golf Course.
“I play with other women in two leagues and have developed friendships through golf,” Margaret said.
Beside her golf game, she is the Chapter Administrator for the Western PA Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and finds time to crochet.
Bethel Park residents for 41 years, Omer and Naomi McGee chose the ground floor apartment in the same stack as Margaret and Chuck.
“We have a mini dachshund named Wilson, so we needed to be at ground level,” Omer said.
He, like Chuck, has a technical mind, having worked for US Steel after earning his chemical engineering degree from Grove City College. The couple have a son and daughter and are members of Christ United Methodist Church, where Chuck belonged at one time.
Omer noted that one of his favorite things about retirement living was not having to worry about meals.
“We don’t have to cook anymore,” he said.
Through their efforts, the Concordia of the South Hills Caring Fund donated a lapel microphone.
“Now we are on the learning curve to discover how it works,” explained Margaret, former president of the South Hills Resident Council.
“Volunteering has been a way of life for all of us,” Margaret said.
Omer, at age 89, and Chuck, age 88, are proof that keeping busy in retirement is the best way to age in a healthy way.
For more information about our mission and volunteer opportunities at one of our senior care locations in Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio or Tampa, Florida, visit our Locations Map or call our administrative headquarters at 724-352-1571.
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