For more than a decade, Gerald and Joyce Wedel have had a routine — working as volunteers at Newton's Et Cetera Shop.
While it started out as a commitment through their church, the Wedels quickly became entrenched helping as clerks (and more) on a regular basis.
"It began with our church," Gerald said. "It was their turn every second Saturday afternoon. For a number of years, we just worked one Saturday afternoon. Then, they needed more people during the week and so it kind of progressed into three and a half days a week."
Since 2006, the Wedels have been fixtures at Et Cetera Shop. While they often work the register at the store, Joyce also helps in the clothing department and assists in setting up the store for the holidays. She also subs for other clerks on short notice. Meanwhile, Gerald serves as a special handyman when called for — having helped construct shelving, hanging walls and other items as needed around the store.
On top of helping at Et Cetera Shop, the Wedels also used to volunteer at the homeless shelter when it was still downtown (before moving to the Youthville campus). Through both roles, Gerald said he has seen the needs of a broad spectrum of people — and also been seen for the work he does around the community.
"You get to see all kinds of different people and it's just something to do, I guess," Gerald said. "There are some people who tell you they really appreciate the volunteers for doing the work."
For their service, the Wedels were recently recognized with this year's Beacon Award through the Harvey County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program. The award recognizes those volunteers who have come through in last-minute challenging situations, making special effort and demonstrating another level of dedication.
Along with the Wedels, Virginia Mullins was recognized with the Sunshine Award (profiled in a previous Giving Back story) and Marlene Faul received the Phoenix Award — given to an individual who gives generously despite personal adversity, such as the commitment Faul showed to Circles of Hope, CASA, Et Cetera Shop, and more while battling health issues in the past year.
Those wanting to volunteer or learn about RSVP can find more information at www.harveycounty.com/departments/department-on-aging/rsvp-home.html.