GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Feb.28, 2014) – Lenore Reynolds wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do when she retired in 1982, but she knew she wanted to stay busy.
After seeing an ad in the paper, Reynolds stumbled upon a volunteer program with the Grand Rapids Police Department that she couldn’t pass up. Nearly 20 years later, she’s one of two volunteers left from the inaugural class of the Senior Volunteer Neighborhood Services program.
“Soon as I saw that ad, I thought, oh, police. Because I’m all into forensics,” Reynolds told FOX 17 News. “We had to go through class … After 4 weeks we all got a uniform, and we went in our cars and away we went.”
Reynolds has been going out “on patrol” ever since. Some of her duties include checking on the elderly a making sure drivers aren’t illegally parked in spots designated for the handicapped. By performing those tasks, Reynolds and the other senior volunteers allow GRPD officers to focus on more pressing issues.
“People don’t know that we’re just seniors and volunteers. They think we’re the real thing,” she said. “It’s fun, I just love it.”
Reynolds, 90, is no stranger to volunteer work. She spent 20 years working as a grandparent teacher’s aide at Harrison Park. Before that, she also volunteered her time to stuff envelopes for WGVU Public Television.
Nowadays, she’s even turned to knitting to stay busy. Reynolds has begun knitting hats and gloves for the non-profit “Santa Claus Girls” to benefit area kids in need during the holidays.
“If I didn’t have that knitting job, I’d go crazy,” Reynolds joked. “It’s against my nerves to just sit here and do nothing.”
Reynolds was recently recognized by the state for her decades of service. She was named the Michigan Citizen Corps Volunteer of the Year for 2013. Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell also plans to honor the longtime volunteer at a city commission meeting on March 11, 2014.
Despite her age, Reynolds doesn’t have any plans to slow down or stop her work any time soon.
“I don’t volunteer to get credit, I just do it because I like doing it,” she explained. “It’s just in me … I guess it’s in my system, that I’m a volunteer.”