Articles, activities for boomers & seniors
Twenty-six years of service on the force began with Ron’s response to an ad in the Bethlehem Globe Times. He was recruited through the nationwide efforts to double the size of the Metropolitan PD following the riots of the late 1960’s after the Kennedy and King assassinations.
Ron, the second of six kids being raised by his mother, didn’t have the resources for a second year at Moravian but did have a high number in the draft. His uncles in law enforcement advised him to pursue this opportunity. He passed the civil service exam and background checks and met the stringent physical requirements. He headed to D.C. in July of 1971 with $61, a suitcase full of his clothes and his bowling ball by hitching a ride with a friend.
The plan was to stay at a building for policemen and fireman but he never did locate it. With few options, he was taken in by his friend’s aunt and uncle who he lovingly refers to as his second parents - Mom and Pop Cool. He lived with them for two years and they even put up their furniture as collateral for his first car. Their seeds of kindness have certainly taken root and blossomed in Ron.
He first started walking a beat in uniform in the Seventh District, known as the ghetto, then graduated to investigating stolen autos and retired as a Detective Grade 2 in 1997. Throughout his years on the force he continued annual return trips to Bethlehem and the Poconos, to spend time with family and friends. Two years after his wife’s death in 2009, Ron moved back home to Bethlehem.
Despite working the midnight shift at Kraft as a security guard, he had more time on his hands than he liked. So he saw another ad – this time asking for volunteers. The first need appealed to him because it was for pinochle players at a senior center and he loved playing double-deck pinochle. But it was the second need that he answered. It was for drivers and Ron loved driving, maybe even more than pinochle.
Motivated by the command to “love one another” he looks for ways to help. He observes, “There certainly are so many ways to do that. So many volunteers are needed. There are so many ways for people to fill their time by helping someone.”
Once again he is the wheel man – this time taking seniors or persons with disabilities to their appointments, to the grocery store, or even on a ride to see the fall leaves. Ron began driving as a volunteer in 2011. He logs 10,000 miles each year. His constant smile and fun-loving personality lift everyone’s spirits. He is thoughtful and engaging and speaks of those he serves with tenderness and genuine caring. He gives so much more than a ride!
In recognition of his service, Ron was recently chosen as the 2015 Volunteer of the Year by the National Volunteer Caregiving Network, of which ShareCare Faith in Action is a member. ShareCare’s mission is to provide free volunteer services to the elderly or disabled persons in order to enhance their quality of life. Ron is also a member of Senior Corps RSVP, a program sponsored by ShareCare.
As he reflected on his days on the police force he could not help but think there was a reason he survived the cocaine wars, being shot, stabbed and run over, and at least a dozen high-speed chases. Maybe God had something more for him to do. Hence, his motto: “As many as I can, as often as I can, for as long as I can”.