Bill Toomey has been a volunteer with the Vet-to-Vet program since it was launched over four years ago. After a 30-year career as the Grafton Inn’s Assistant Innkeeper where he met many people, Bill wanted to stay engaged with people. He also liked the idea of helping them.
Once he became a volunteer, Bill was surprised that it was the veterans’ caregivers, not the veterans themselves, who were frequently the ones who called Senior Solutions’ Helpline requesting a veteran volunteer. One of the gentlemen Bill is matched with has Alzheimer’s. His partner had called the HelpLine in search of respite care because she needed a break from her full-time role as a caregiver. Initially, it was necessary for Bill to sell himself to her partner to overcome his skepticism, but they got over that bump fast. Bill knows the gentleman is now always glad to see him.
What Bill likes most about being a volunteer is meeting new people and swapping stories. Interestingly, only one of the veterans he has been matched with is interested in talking about his military service. The others like telling stories about their personal life, or where they grew up, or their careers outside the military. Because Bill and his buddies all grew up in Windham County, they have many acquaintances in common.
Bill gets a lot of satisfaction out of doing “someone some good. I feel happy because I’ve done something useful.”