“It’s better to wear out than rust out.”

April 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

Louise Froelich, 93

Walking through the halls of the Food Bank on Thursday afternoons, one may hear “Where is Louise? Has anyone seen Louise?” Every Thursday, Louise Froelich, 93, serves as a Volunteer Leader in the Food Bank’s donation sorting area, where she welcomes, trains and leads volunteers. As she pulls up in the parking lot in her navy Volkswagen, she brings smiles to the faces of volunteers waiting for her in the volunteer lobby.

Since Hurricane Katrina, Louise has been a regular, radiant fixture in the Food Bank community of 13,000 volunteers, donating an average 85 hours of her time each year.

On April 23, Louise’s outstanding community service was recognized when Austin Groups for the Elderly (AGE) gave her the Willie Kocurek Vital Aging Award. This award honors an older community member who exemplifies the concept of vital aging and is accomplished in the areas of self-determination, self-sufficiency, civic engagement, and quality of life.

“I learn lots from Louise. She is a dynamic volunteer who truly embraces both her volunteer time and those around her,” said Paige DeLeon, Senior Director of Volunteer Resources. “Other volunteers are drawn to her humor, her energy and her understanding of what we are trying to accomplish at the Food Bank. She has a genuine love and concern for people in our community and she does her part to make volunteers feel welcome, engaged and wanted.”

Louise describes herself in three simple words: “busy, happy person.”

“At my age, you want to have the energy to do a lot of things,” she added. “As I’ve gotten older, I focus my energy where I feel I can do the most good.”

In addition to volunteering at the Food Bank, Louise has tutored first-grade reading students at Cunningham Elementary each week for the past 19 years. Louise likes tutoring because she likes a good challenge. “When you teach children, you have to constantly ask yourself, ‘What can I do? How can I do this better? Are they learning anything new?’”

“I feel working at the Food Bank is contributing and helping students become better readers is contributing as well,” she said. “I am determined to help these students get into college and have a bright future because they are good readers.”

Aside from volunteering, Louise enjoys spending time with her neighbors, playing the piano, and singing in the choir at Shepherd of the Hills Church. Louise received her master’s degree in music from the Teacher’s College at Columbia University. Her love for music carries over to her extensive classical music collection, and she also attends the Austin Symphony on a regular basis with friends. When she’s not listening to music, Louise enjoys walks with her adopted dog, Grisher, and hanging out at her home with cat, Maxie.

“Louise exudes such happiness in her very simple, content life. She finds the most joy in working and serving others and it shows,” DeLeon said. “She is a committed volunteer who impacts the lives of those she serves, including me. I am continually impressed with the work she does, who she is, and how she lives. Every time she volunteers with us, she leaves a footprint. We are lucky she found us.”

Louise embraces her place in our community, and laughs when she says, “It’s better to wear out than rust out. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

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