Retirees Making a Difference: Doris Day, Louis Chenevert, Jack Zimmer

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How do you plan to spend your golden years? The golden years are often referred to as the time immediately after a person retires from their job (usually between 55 and 65 years old) until the time when they are no longer able to function to the best of their ability. The amount of golden years a person experiences depends on their health, current lifestyle, and how early they retire. We are never guaranteed a tomorrow, so better do your best with what you have today.

It is an interesting time in America right now where the baby boomers make up almost a quarter of the population. People that were born between 1946 and 1964 are often referred to as the baby boomers because of the significant increase in the number of births during this time. So if the baby boomers aren’t all retired yet, soon enough they will be. And how are they choosing to spend their golden years? More and more are now spending it by volunteering to help others. In fact, according to the website Statista, about 25 percent of the people over 55 do volunteer work.

The best selling book of all time declares in its pages that it is more blessed to give than to receive. It appears more people are taking that to heart. Below are a few of the retirees that volunteer to give back to the community around them.

Jeffie Carter

Jeffie Carter just passed away at the age of 101 about six months ago, but this Jackson, Mississippi native continued to volunteer until the end. Carter had retired from teaching elementary school back in 1983. She taught mostly second grade for 50 years, and during this time she educated many children and even some of their parents.

Once she retired, she immediately started volunteering. Carter was an active lady and ready to pitch in for a good cause. She volunteered at her church, the AARP, Goodwill, and the Salvation Army. In fact, she holds the honor of being one of the very few 100-years-olds that rang the bell for the Salvation Army around Christmas. People like Carter who contributed to the community greatly by teaching and then volunteered until the very end are tough to replace.

Robert Rouse and Peter Perl

What do these two men have in common other than both their first and last names start with the same letter? They both volunteer around the Washington, D.C. area by working with children in elementary schools. Rouse had to retire a bit early as the former firefighter was injured on the job, and Perl was a retired journalist with more than 40 years in the business. Both men decided helping in the elementary classrooms would be something that they would enjoy.

There are very few male influences in elementary schools with most teachers being female. Having two quality men being there to set good examples for the kids is priceless. “You may not see the impact, or understand the impact, but it goes far deeper and wider than we can ever imagine,” Rouse said. Through their volunteering, they are affecting generations to come.

Jack Zimmer

Jack Zimmer owned a bakery all of his life in Minnesota. He would work their every single day until he retired in 1999. Now in his 70s, he continues to provide food for others, just in a different way. He volunteers to deliver Meals on Wheels to those who need it. He started as soon as he retired and does it several days a week.

Zimmer realizes that the interaction is sometimes just as important as the meal. “I visit with them and ask them how they are doing. I realize for a lot of people, I may be their only contact for the day.” Zimmer and his wife also work through their church to feed the homeless. He states that by contributing in a small way, maybe he can make someone’s life a little better. “I try to give back as much as I can,” he said.

Louis Chenevert

Louis Chenevert, Yale Cancer Center

What do you do when you retire from being President and CEO of one of the largest conglomerates in the world? Well, if you are Louis Chenevert, you lead the Advisory Board at the Yale Cancer Center by becoming its chairman. Louis Chenevert volunteers his time and ability in the quest to fight cancer.

Louis Chenevert led United Technologies Corporation (UTC) from 2008 to 2014 to its greatest heights. The corporation focuses on the aerospace industry, but also has many subsidiaries businesses worth billions as well. His knack for creating fortunes is now put to good use by helping the Yale Cancer Center raise the funds it needs for cancer research. In fact, the whole Advisory Board is comprised of people that volunteer their time to help those in need. Louis Chenevert rose through the ranks over the years from when he first graduated from university in Montreal. He has worked his way up to the position of really being able to make a difference in the medical community and around the world. Not bad for someone who hasn’t quite reached 60 yet.

Doris Day

If you enjoy watching old movies, you will probably recognize Doris Day as the actress that starred in films like Pillow Talk and The Man Who Knew Too Much. She had a career in Hollywood that very few could match to this day. She unexpectedly retired in 1968 the day her husband Martin Melcher died. Unfortunately, she would also find out Melcher dwindled away her millions of dollars at the time.

Now in her 90s, the former actress and singer continues to follow her passion that began in 1971. Day has founded four organizations that help and rescue animals. She has volunteered countless time over the years in providing animals the care they need. She certainly has done her part by having more than 20 dogs at her house as part of her extended family.

Read our previous article on Louis Chenevert here!