This year Mike Cargill celebrates his 20th anniversary as a CHORE volunteer. We sat down with the 78-year old Bergen County resident to find out about his experience with the program.
After he retired in 1997, Mike was looking for a way to volunteer doing something that he loves. A jack-of-all-trades handyman, CHORE stood out to him because he enjoyed fixing things around his own house. He applied to the program, aced his interview, and the rest is history.
Throughout his many years of service he has been able to help over 21,000 seniors and disabled residents remain in their homes. Yet Mike insists that he gets even more satisfaction out of CHORE than the clients do. He says, “The best part for me is being able to improve the quality of life for someone instantly. It is very satisfying to be able to make a difference.”
He recalls a job that he did for two sisters, who were 98 and 96 years old. But don’t let those ages fool you. He’ll never forget how impressed he was by how active and funny the pair was, even noting that the two were spry enough to beat him down the stairs.
Another client that left a mark on him was a woman with braces on her legs. After completing repairs inside the residence, he and his fellow volunteers noticed that her front step was 8-inches high, making it difficult for her to enter her home. They built another 4-inch step to make the stairs more accessible. They were happy to go above and beyond what was asked of them to keep her safe.
In addition to his passion for volunteering, Mike is also an avid fisherman. Not content to just reel in the catch of the day, he finds the time to spread his love of fishing with the community. His fishing club, the Hudson River Fisherman’s Association, hosts free events to teach kids how to fish. Their annual “Hooked on the Hudson” at Ross’s Dock features a fishing competition, children’s activities, and displays from local environmental groups.
Volunteers are the heart and soul of CHORE. Without them, many individuals would not have access to low-cost repairs that keep them in the homes that they love. We would like to sincerely thank Mike for his incredible 20 years of service!
When asked what he learned from being a CHORE volunteer, Mike had this to say: If you are prepared for your retirement, it is the best time of your life.