Finding a Niche in Retirement

By Alex Cox

On this Thank You Thursday, we are recognizing two volunteers that contribute their time to repairing small appliances, lights, and other electrical items in the ReStore — tasks that can be time consuming and are not necessarily for everyone. These types of repairs can be tedious and you definitely get dirty!

Dick Manz has been volunteering with the ReStore for 18 years. During the last three, he has been working in a dedicated space on a lower level of the ReStore, crowds of vacuums gathered around and bags, cables, and tools hanging from the walls.

“We had a stack of vacuums about a mile high, all needing repair,” said Dick. “You need ample space to spread everything out and properly repair the units that come in. I offered to work on all of them if I had enough room and the tools to do it.” ReStore management was more than happy to oblige.

“I’ve accumulated quite the mess down here, and sometimes I’m not sure what to do with some of it,” said Dick. “But someone has to do it, and it’s not a problem at all for me.”

Dick came to Asheville to retire. Born in Oklahoma, his background is in engineering. He was also in a management position at the paper mill in Canton, NC, about 20 miles west of Asheville. Since his relocation here in 1992, he’s been volunteering most of that time, taking only a couple years off.

Another volunteer, originally from Florida, has been responsible for making sure some of the other electrical items that are sold in the ReStore are in proper working order. Richard Pollard has been volunteering with the ReStore for three years. His background is in maintenance for a nursing home, which has translated well to his volunteer position.

One of his first projects at the ReStore included working on lawnmowers, and then he moved to other electrical components such as appliances and lights.

“I was getting restless after my previous job, and really wanted something to do, and some way to contribute,” said Richard. “I came here, started working on some of the things I knew about, and it kind of went from there.”

Richard also contributes his time to teach his skills to others. He takes on young volunteers who come in and want to learn, sometimes as part of large groups. He has them help out around his workspace while they gain experience regarding electrical repairs.

Richard may have come to the ReStore looking to contribute, but has stayed because of the supportive environment. “I definitely like it here. There’s no drama, no arguing between the people that volunteer here,” Richard said happily. “Everything is a collaborative effort.”

Every volunteer contributes to the successful operation of the ReStore. And when volunteers like Dick Manz and Richard Pollard contribute their time, a strong work ethic and attention to detail, they make everyone else’s job easier. We are thankful for their service and their willingness to get dirty and do the jobs that need to get done. Thank you Dick and Richard!

If you are interested in volunteering with Asheville Habitat, please click here to learn more or sign up.