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  • Last modified 91 days ago (Feb. 20, 2019)

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Staying active in retirement years boosts health

Staff writer

Health experts recommend maintaining active lifestyles as people grow older. Some seniors choose to volunteer their time; others choose to continue working after reaching retirement age.

Orville Pfeiffer of Marion became a volunteer at St. Luke Auxiliary Shoppe in September 2013, after helping to move the store location from 404 E. Main St. in Marion across the street to the former Duckwall’s location.

“They wanted to paint all the walls, so I helped,” Pfeiffer said. “Then I saw other things that needed fixing, so I stayed.”

The step at the back entrance was high and difficult to use. He added another step.

He noticed the difficulty female workers had dragging bags of clothing through the receiving room door to work tables, so he installed a door behind the tables to provide direct access.

He installed a double sink in the receiving room for washing and cleaning items before they are placed on store shelves. That’s how he spends his time five days a week.

Pfeiffer likes working in his yard during summer, but his work at the auxiliary store is a godsend in winter.

“If I didn’t have this, I don’t know what I would do,” he said.

When Walter Hein, 71, retired from Hesston Corporation (now AgCo), he vowed to take two months off, which he did.

Then he headed down to St. Luke Auxiliary Shoppe and volunteered. He is co-manager and in charge of depositing money receipts.

He brings in donated items and helps carry items out for customers.

Hein came from a family of eight children and learned to work at a young age. He helped his father operate gas stations for many years.

He was a parts clerk in the Army while serving in the Vietnam War and knew the importance of keeping things organized, so it was natural to want to organize banana boxes full of clothes that are stored in an upstairs room. He labels them and keeps them in order.

Hein had a stint put in his heart Feb. 10 and, to the surprise of his fellow volunteers, was back in the store two days later.

“If I couldn’t come down here every day, I’d go nuts,” he said.

He works at the shop almost every day and is on call to go down to the store and take things inside whenever they are spotted at the back door.

“I enjoy working here,” he said. “We’re pretty close down here.”

Lucille Bitner of Marion was 65 when she retired from a job as a Sedgwick County bus driver.

“I tried to stay home, but I got bored,” she said.

After she and her husband moved to Marion, she worked as a cook at St. Luke Hospital and then Casey’s General Store. Now, at 77, she is head cook at Marion Senior Center.

She said the doctor has advised her to keep going.

“If you quit, you will just get old and stiff with arthritis,” he told her.

“This will probably be my last job,” Lucille said. “I will keep going as long as possible.”

Last modified Feb. 20, 2019

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