March for Meals: Meals on Wheels comes full circle for Carson City man
What goes around comes around.
Monte Fast has spent his life helping others, and now that he’s in need of a little help, it has come to him. Fast was executive director of FISH, Friends in Service Helping, for 20 years. His career has also included serving as a pastor, a musician, music teacher and choir director.
Fast is 82 and recent eye surgeries have left him somewhat homebound.
“I can’t drive, and my wife Billie is in the hospital recovering from open-heart surgery, so Meals on Wheels has been a blessing,” he said. “The food is wholesome, nutritious, and better than I could prepare for myself. But even better than the food is the company and conversation that comes with it.”
Following a recent visit from Randy Gaa, founder of Meals on Two Wheels, a bicycle complement to Meals on Wheels whose mission is to not only to bring meals to recipients, but to also spend time getting to know them, Fast said that visit may be the most important thing.
“Friendships are as important as food, and relationships are even more important,” he said. “Food nourishes your body, but faith, friends, and family nourish your soul.”
Fast’s faith is strong. Growing up in Oregon the son of a pastor, he taught music at Bethany Bible College in Santa Cruz, Calif., where he married Billie in 1959. The music led to directing church choirs, and a transition to the role of pastor. He then went onto become a fundraiser for churches, which led to his selection as director of FISH.
“FISH was $10,000 in the red when I took over, and we were about to get the lights turned off,” he said.
With the help of volunteers, Fast said he was able to turn it around, and became one of the leading lights in human services in Carson City. The University of Nevada, Reno recognized both Fast and his wife as Distinguished Nevadans for service to their community, and those certificates hang proudly on his wall.
Fast is lavish in praise of the support his wife Billie has given him over the years.
“She ran a day care center for boys, having raised three of our own,” he said. “Without her support, I wouldn’t have been able to afford my job at FISH,” he laughed.
Fast still plays music and has a variety of instruments in his home studio including a piano, electric organ, guitar, and a harp, which, he said, harp players spend half their time tuning and the half playing.
Fast said he greatly enjoyed his visit with Gaa and was touched by the time and interest invested in the program.
“Meals on Wheels is a wonderful program, and it saved my life,” he said.
For information on Meals on Wheels, call the Carson City Senior Center at 775-883-0703.