In only three years Jan Milman has put 200,000 kilometres on her car driving people nearly every day from Drumheller to the city for medical appointments. This is only one type of volunteering Jan and her husband Jim have put hours into.
On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week they volunteered at a casino in Calgary for the Grace House in Drumheller. They often spend time helping out at pancake breakfasts, mowing people’s lawns, house sitting, volunteering at hockey games.
“It’s what we do to fill in our time, because we don’t want to get old. We enjoy what we do, it’s not only because we don’t want to get old, it’s because we enjoy people. Everyday is different,” says Jan.
“They’re so modest,” says Beth MacDonell, who nominated the couple for The Mail’s Drumheller Heroes section. “She is absolutely fantastic. She has three people (she drives to the city) most days. Otherwise they’d have to leave at 5:00 a.m. on the bus.”
The couple started to volunteer 12 years ago, because they felt people needed a more personalized service. Jan doesn’t just drop them off at the door: she helps sign papers, listen at the doctors, and even takes them out for a meal when it’s all done.
“It’s like they’re your grandparents – you take care of them.”
“We always have a good time, some say it’s their holiday. It’s not all business,” says Jan. “We try to make it eventful.”
Jan says these people need help, often families are too busy or choose not to help out people who need to head into Calgary or Red Deer for medical expertise not available in the valley.
“Most are very grateful, they’re happy. They say ‘I wouldn’t know where to go, what to do, I could never find my way into Calgary. We had a wonderful day’. As long as they’re happy when we get home, I’m happy.”