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  3. Tish Rudnicki Joins North Shore Senior Center as Executive Director

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For This Volunteer, Mobility is the Key

May 14, 2014

Charlie Dubman knows a lot about getting around and being mobile.

He grew up in New York City, in the borough of Queens. As a boy, his bike was his conveyance of choice, though he rode the subway into Manhattan every fall to buy new school clothes at Macy’s.  In his teens, Charlie left the city far behind when he moved to Pennsylvania to attend Mercersburg Academy, a private boarding school.  

At age 22, the Army draft transported Charlie to Korea, where he dug trenches and helped move heavy artillery along the front lines.  He learned how a 16-ton Howitzer could fire a projectile and demolish a target on the other side of a mountain.

After the war, Charlie returned to the U.S. and became a textile and clothing salesman. His job took him on the road for weeks at a time, over thousands of miles, and through seven states. Years later, he owned and operated a housecleaning company, and brought maid services to hundreds of clients throughout the Chicago suburbs.  When he retired, he knew that inactivity was not on his roadmap for the future.

Today, Charlie devotes his time to helping others regain their mobility. Monday through Friday, he works as a volunteer in our Northfield location, distributing medical equipment from our Lending Closet.  

“We have everything,” he explained. “Wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, shower benches – even a device that can help you pull your socks up if you can’t bend over.” Seniors and their families can borrow durable medical goods from the Lending Closet for several months, free of charge. This service is particularly valuable when someone is recovering at home after a hospital stay, a fall or an illness.

“I meet a lot of people and help them determine what they need. For example, I have to find out how tall they are in order to properly fit them with crutches,” Charlie said. “It keeps life interesting.”  In addition to his work with the Lending Closet, Charlie helps out with clerical and scheduling projects in our Northfield offices, and runs the audio for Men’s Club programs on Tuesdays.

We’re lucky to count Charlie Dubman among the many volunteers who keep the wheels turning at North Shore Senior Center – and, he wouldn’t have it any other way. “Men are used to working at an early age, and that takes a huge amount of their energy,” Charlie said. “Work is also their social network. So, when that’s gone, you need to keep yourself occupied and active. That’s why I volunteer.”