Seniors: Stanley Lee
Volunteering wasn’t on Stanley Lee’s mind when he entered the Carson City Senior Citizens Center nearly two years ago.
His wife of 50 years had recently died and he was interested in signing up to have Meals on Wheels delivered to his home.
“Because I could walk and drive, they told me I wasn’t eligible,” said Lee. “So instead they put me to work, as a volunteer.”
It was a choice that would turn Lee’s life around.
After Lee’s wife died, he spent a month with his son Loyd, fishing in Washington. Then he traveled to Florida and spent a month with his sister.
“I pretty much then just stayed at home, doing nothing. One of my neighbors suggested I have meals delivered by the senior center, so I went there to sign up. But, instead, I became a volunteer.
“I was volunteering just three days a week until the holidays. Then, with people on vacation, there was a greater need and now, we’re here most everyday.”
The “we” Lee refers to is his new wife, Lora. Lora lost her husband of 51 years shortly after Stan’s wife passed away. When Stan began volunteering, Lora was filling in as volunteer coordinator and was one of the first people to tell Stan what to do.
“Lora is just great,” said Lee. “We hit it off right away. We had a lot in common.”
Lee buses tables in the dining room. He also pours coffee, tea and whatever else is asked. Lee has been named as the Carson City Senior Citizens Center Volunteer of the Week.
“Whatever they need me for, I help out. We’re all here to help out, that’s the main thing.”
Lee sees the center as a good way for people to meet others and volunteer at the same time.
“I came in a few times for a meal, and didn’t know anybody. Then when I started volunteering, I began talking to everyone. The way I look at it, I’ve started a whole new life. The center has really helped turn my life around.”
Lee and Lora married just 11 months ago. There was kidding and teasing from his fellow volunteers, but they have taken it all in stride.
“I didn’t care, I was in love. You never think you could that special love again, but it can happen. I’m very happy and very much in love.”
Lee has lived in Carson City since 1970, moving here from San Mateo, Calif. He retired in 1980 as a mechanic for Pan American Airlines in San Francisco. He commuted from Carson City to San Mateo the last 10 years he worked.
“I stayed with my daughter Ann Oakes during the week in San Mateo and came home to Carson City on the weekends.”
Lee has four children: Twins Alice and Ann, Ann in San Mateo and Alice in Carson City; son Loyd in Washington, and Helen in Napa, Calif. Lora also has four children: Mary in Reno, Ann in Carson City, Nancy in Sacramento, and Lynda in Springfield, Mo.
“I like volunteering,” said Lee. “I like helping and being around people. I think Ron (Vickers, volunteer coordinator) has done a lot with the dining room in the time I’ve been here. He’s very organized.
“You know, I could have stayed at home feeling sad for myself, but it’s a good feeling when you can help somebody. When you come in to the center, you sometimes see a person who is worse off than you are – the center is their whole life. Sometimes the meal they get is their only hot meal. They really need this place, it’s good for them.”