It is Volunteer Appreciation Week, 2013. The word VOLUNTEER instantly brings to mind Carl Kittrell and his beautiful wife Phil. Well into the years of life when most elders are receiving the services of volunteers to help them remain independent, Carl and Phil continued to help others in their church and community services. From packing food for deliveries to driving the aging and disabled to weekly Wal-Mart shopping, Carl answered every request with a ‘if you can’t find someone to help, call me and I’ll do it’.
Through the many years of community service provided by Faith In Action (originally called Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers), created in 1997 through the Washington Regional Medical Center Foundation, many volunteers have been members of Central United Methodist Church of Fayetteville. Why was this church group represented more than any other church in Northwest Arkansas? Because early in the programs development, Carl Kittrell asked his pastor if he could talk a few minutes about the services of IVC during the Sunday service. As an elder of the church, Carl drew others who were inspired by his talk that day. Carl was influential throughout his years as a volunteer for Faith in Action in securing volunteers, food for the pantry, manpower for special projects, and advocating for the services to the homebound elderly.
Never to be defeated, Carl went the extra mile, literally, to provide a service someone needed. Not everyone who is homebound and aging is the most pleasant to serve. The social isolation can lead to depression, anger and resentments, and Carl often heard stories of the person he was assisting during the time spent driving. He was patient and supportive. When other volunteers declined to serve a sometimes unpleasant or difficult person, Carl offered his time and service when needed. Going beyond expectations was common for Carl, like the time he installed an over-sized seat belt in his little truck so that he could accommodate a quite obese lady who could not fit into anyone’s car for transportation to Wal-Mart. Carl tried everything to serve her, even making sure that she was buckled in properly. It wasn’t until she kept him waiting on the park bench for an over three hour shopping trip in the Wal-mart isles that he declared it quits for that one particular volunteer client!
For well over thirteen years, Carl and Phil Kittrell were constant supportive and active volunteers of Faith in Action. They now live in a retirement community where they have others to drive for them and take care of all their needs. THANK YOU CARL AND PHIL FOR YOUR YEARS OF VOLUNTEER SERVICE! Wishing you both a Happy Volunteer Week, Sara