Hampton, Va. - Whether he's calling out bingo or helping in other ways at the Coliseum Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center in Hampton, Fred Hemmerly stays busy as a volunteer.
Staff members like Temple Outlaw say employees and residents truly enjoy having him around.
"Oh yes. He smiles all the time, most definitely all the time. Fred is a good person. He comes everyday. The residents love him," says Outlaw.
The 76-year-old Air Force retiree has been volunteering there for more than two years. Sometimes, it's just visiting with the residents in their rooms, playing scrabble or helping out with morning coffee time.
Fred says it means a lot to him to help out. "I feel great when I go home in the afternoon. I'm alone; I've got nobody at all, so I feel pretty good when I feel I made someone smile today, cracked a joke with someone today or comforted someone today or held their hand and talked with them today."
Which is why we surprised him during a brief interruption of afternoon bingo to present Fred with a People Taking Action award, along with a $100 Visa gift card from our community partner Southern Bank.
Fred was genuinely touched.
"This means more to me then I can begin to express. When I go home in the evenings I feel pretty good; I've had a good day and this means everything to me, it really does," says Fred.