After spending 40 years in dentistry including serving four years in the Army Dental Corps, Dr. John Waldron started volunteering for JFS in 2017. After hearing about JFS from his friends, John’s first volunteer role was as a JET Express driver.
He has transported 29 older adults across the metropolitan area 85 times. One of his most memorable client stories involved picking up a passenger who had familiar ties to his family.
“I drove a woman who lived at the Atriums [senior living center]. She was a contemporary of my mother-in-law and knew her well. She told me stories about her and my wife,” John said.
“It was very uplifting to me to be able to help her with transportation to the activities that she loved. It gave her great joy to participate in those activities and added to her quality of life.”
John continues to volunteer as a Jet Express driver, but since the COVID-19 pandemic, he has shifted his volunteer focus primarily to the JFS Food Pantry in Brookside where he volunteers once or twice a week.
“John smiles with his eyes and has fun while doing the heavy lifting of loading clients’ cars with their customized orders,” said Brittani Rhodes, Food Pantry Manager.
“He is detailed-oriented in shopping and making sure that our clients receive the best of what we have available,” she said. “John is always willing to take on projects, help out where needed to keep our systems running smoothly, all while showing great adaptability to changes that occur during a shift.”
John’s interactions with clients are filled with kindness, humor, and great hospitality, said Lauren Weinberg, Brookside’s Food Pantry Coordinator.
“I believe that adding joy to people less fortunate or isolated enriches our lives,” John said. “I have been blessed with good health having more than most people. It is rewarding spiritually, morally and ethically.”
In addition to volunteering with JFS, John, who has lived in the area for more than 50 years, is very active in the Jewish community. He served on The Temple, Congregation B’Nai Jehudah’s board from 2015 to 2021 and currently participates in the synagogue’s Brotherhood program and sits on various committees. In his spare time, John tries to walk five miles per day, while listening to podcasts and books on tape. He also enjoys traveling to visit his son and daughter, two grandchildren, and a grand doggie who live in Chicago and Detroit.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact the volunteer engagement team at (913) 730-1410 or firstname.lastname@example.org.