Joyce Ann Rothenberger and Carl Arner have a special closeness, the kind that usually takes years to develop. Yet their friendship arose just over the last year.

Rothenberger had a doctor’s appointment and didn’t know how she would travel there–she’s in a wheelchair and unable to drive. An acquaintance offered the names of several organizations that provide transportation. When Rothenberger called Diakon Volunteers Serving Seniors, she was pleasantly surprised by what she heard.

“Someone actually answered the phone! I got an answering machine at all of the other places. I like the personal touch at Diakon,” she says.

Diakon Volunteers Serving Seniors provides non-medical assistance on a short-term or intermittent basis to help older adults. In addition to transportation to medical appointments, available services include companionship, and assistance with grocery shopping.

Diakon Volunteers Serving Seniors assigned Arner to assist Rothenberger. Once a month, he picks her up at her home and drives her to her appointment. “He helps in so many different ways. Carl goes above and beyond what’s expected,” she says.

Helping others is not new to Arner. “Growing up, I was always looking out for everyone else. When some people at my church needed to get to doctors’ appointments, I volunteered to help them, and soon began transporting three members of the church to dialysis,” he says. Soon he began volunteering with the Diakon program.

“This service allows people to age in the same situation they’ve known for many years,” says Karen Wood, director of Diakon Volunteers Serving Seniors. “It helps seniors maintain their independence.”

“I can’t say enough about this program,” says Rothenberger. “It’s invaluable. I don’t know what I would do without Carl and the Diakon people.”

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