Milestone Volunteers:  Models of Commitment and Dedication

Milestones are defined as an important event in the development or history of something or in someone’s life. This year, twenty-six volunteers are reaching a milestone level of service. We are pleased to share the experiences of five Betel milestone volunteers. Thank you for your commitment and dedication!

You can read their full stories here:
Susan Argintaru:
Gary Levine:
Gail and Bob Berchuk:
Naum Kogan:

Susan Argintaru has been an active volunteer with Betel for 10 years, however her connection with the centre began much earlier. Her mother, Fritzi volunteered for 16 years selling bus tickets to the members and as a Dial-a-Friend volunteer. Susan’s husband Paul, was a Meals on Wheels volunteer for 10 years. Susan reflects on volunteering at Betel. “When Paul delivered to a house, the person would be waiting to come out and accept the meal. They would have a brief chat and you could see how engaged they were with each other. My mother developed a social circle of friends and when she could no longer come to the centre, her daily calls to members kept her involved and engaged. What we do is so critical, not only to the clients and our members, but for the community are large.”

It has been 10 years since Gary Levine retired from his career as a lawyer and joined the Meals on Wheels volunteer team. Familiar with the importance of the meal program he always knew this was the volunteer role for him. In October 2013, he began delivering once a week and, aside from his annual trip down south in late winter, has rarely missed a week. He increased his weekly commitment to two times each week during the most challenging time of the pandemic. “Volunteering has become part of my life. I knew this role was for me and it makes me proud to help others. That is why I started and continue today. It makes me feel good, until next week, when I do my deliveries again.”

Gail Berchuk’s parents were active supporters of the Betel Centre and her father was recognized for his dedication to the success of the woodworking program. When Bob and Gail Berchuk retired, they became members and soon after inquired about volunteer opportunities. Bob had a passion and expertise in Sudoku and suggested that he and Gail co-facilitate a program. He had to first teach Gail who never had an interest in the game. Bob admits, “Now she beats me.” In January 2018, they started with a Beginners class for 8 weeks and grew from there. During the pandemic, they changed from an on-site program to offering the class online. Five years later, they are still facilitating this popular program. “My parents, Dave and Dorothy Steiner, would be proud of us – all of us for what we are doing. They would be so pleased.”

Naum Kogan is a mathematician and was a high school mathematics teacher back home in Moldova. After moving to Canada he worked as a Program Analyst at Hudson’s Bay Company. When he retired, he wanted to remain active. While working for Elections Canada he searched for a volunteer opportunity where he could give back to the community and share his knowledge and expertise. Volunteering with the Betel computer program was a perfect fit for Naum. “When I retired, I knew I wanted to give back. I enjoy helping people, and I love making technology understandable to seniors. I get great pleasure from seeing our seniors smile.”

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