Belleville veteran logs in 3,700 volunteer hours helping other vets

News-DemocratMay 13, 2013 

Howard Hagler wanted something to do after he retired from the construction business.

So the Belleville man started volunteering with Persons and Services for Older People, a program of Southwestern Illinois College.

For all his efforts, he recently was honored with a Governor's Volunteer Service Award as part of Senior Corps Week in Illinois.

Hagler has put in more than 3,700 volunteer hours since 2008, helping military veterans get back and forth to medical appointments.

Hagler said that after he retired he was attending some classes at SWIC at night.

"I was looking around for something to do and a friend who was a senior companion with PSOP took me over and introduced me," he said. "I went through the training program."

Since he had done a three-year hitch with the U.S. Army in the early 1960s, he was put to work helping other veterans.

"I've had a lot of illness since I started," Hagler said. "I was working five days a week, helping two people a day with appointments. Now I've cut back to three times a week."

But those days he works with a Marine veteran who needed a lot of help.

Sharon Hamilton, PSOP assistant director, credited Hagler with helping the veteran open up and get back into life.

Hagler said his friend is a demon pinochle player, and when they aren't going to medical appointments, they are playing cards at the center.

Hagler said they get a big kick out of joshing each other about how important each branch of their service was and how hard they had to work.

"We nominated him because he is a veteran, helping other veterans," Hamilton said. "It's a great story of helping someone else emerging from a funk. It's a great example of what our volunteers can do."

Belleville News-Democrat is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service