Every week, once a week, for about half of the year, you can find David Waterman on his riding mower at Shenandoah House, mowing its lawns. Waterman has been volunteering at Shenandoah House since it opened nine years ago. In fact, he first got involved because his wife, Rosalie, was already a volunteer with Augusta Health’s hospice services and the hospital.
Waterman learned from his wife that Augusta Health was looking for volunteers at the soon-to-be-opened Shenandoah House. In particular, Waterman learned the facility was planning to purchase a riding mower and create a schedule for volunteers to come and do the mowing. Having owned and operated a landscaping business in Fairfax before he retired — in addition to working as a schoolteacher in the area — Waterman had a better plan.
‘I’ll do it’
“As soon as my wife explained to me that they were going to buy a mower and some other equipment and that the volunteers would take turns, I said ‘that’s a big mistake,’” Waterman says. “They don’t need a bunch of guys, they need one guy — and I’ll do it. And that’s what I did.”
Since then Waterman has been caring for the lawns at Shenandoah House weekly. He estimates the value of these services at around $120 per week, which means he has donated thousands of dollars worth of his time over the years. And even though Waterman acknowledges the staggering sum he likely has saved for Shenandoah House, the feeling of giving back to the community and accomplishment are what he values most.
“I like to work with my hands and see a job done well,” he says. “I think work is good for the community and for the individual that is doing it. Knowing that there is a part of the community relying on me [to perform these services] is gratifying.”
Waterman’s wife, Rosalie, agrees with this assessment.
“With volunteering at hospice, we help the caregivers so they can go out and do something they couldn’t have done otherwise,” she says. “The hospice saves money, it’s something pleasurable for us to do and it’s good for the community.”
In volunteering, the Watermans, who live in Staunton, Virginia, are two of many people who give back to the Augusta Health community. But Waterman is quick to mention that he is only responsible for part of the beauty at the Shenandoah House grounds; his fellow volunteers Mark and Bobbie Bonar care for the many flower beds there, which, along with a well-manicured lawn, give the house its unique and serene setting.
Whether you have specific experience you could draw on or if you’re just interested in giving back to the community, Augusta Health’s Hospice of the Shenandoah is always looking for new volunteers. For more information about how you can help, visit augustahealth.com/hospice, or call (540) 332-4909 (Staunton) or (540) 932-4909 (Waynesboro).