90-year-old keeps giving back at VA center

June 26, 2009 7:16:15 PM PDT
There are volunteers and there are volunteers with a capital "V." And when the volunteer is 90-years-old, that is worth noting.

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Three days a week, 90-year-old Margie Lowe enjoys extending kindness to dozens of veterans, many of whom served in World War II and Korea.

She volunteers at the Adult Day Health Care Center at the V.A.'s San Jose clinic. It is a respite program to allow family members and caregivers to take a break from around-the-clock care.

Margie starts early to prepare fruit bowls and coffee. As the veterans arrive, she greets them by name and makes sure they are comfortable.

"I'm interested in them every time they come in, find out how they are and hope that they're staying well," Margie said.

She is constantly in motion, offering help and assistance.

"Margie never sits down; she just goes and goes and goes, and we're always trying to get her to take a break, but she just doesn't, that's Margie," occupational therapist Kelly Miitchell-Headley said.

Margie has been volunteering at the V.A. for 10 years. It is her way of showing appreciation for the care given by the V.A. to her late husband, a World War II veteran. It also gets her out of the house.

"I have a dog, and the dog keeps me busy; but the dog doesn't relate to me quite as much as the guys," Margie said.

Margie also conducts a Tai chi class for the veterans. She is convinced it helps to energize them, even if they are not able to stand and do the full range of motion.

Program Director Karen Brown says Margie has a special talent to engage the veterans, mentally and physically -- the kind of socialization often lacking in their lives.

"People thank her every day for the gift of her presence and the joy that she brings, and she just says, 'I do it because I want to see the veterans enjoy themselves,'" Brown said.

The veterans in turn appreciate what she does for them.

"She's very helpful; she's always busy and she's always friendly, she always makes you feel at home," veteran Harold Black said.

Recently, Margie was named a "Friend of the Veteran." She also received a proclamation from the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.

However, margie tries to deflect the attention.

"It's pointing at me, and I don't deserve to be pointed out; everybody's working together, and I feel, I'm kind of embarrassed by it really," Margie said.

ABC7 is proud to salute 90-year-old Margie Lowe of San Jose for her tireless devotion to veterans.

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