PatBaker2April showers bring…. May showers? Despite this month’s seemingly unending downpours, drizzles, showers, and general gloominess, May is when we look forward to the reemergence of Spring perennials, sunny skies, and generally warmer days. It is also Older Americans Month, that time of year when we reflect on the contributions our older neighbors make every day. The theme of this year’s older Americans Month is “Blazing a Trail,” so all of us at Capital Caring thought about the legions of older Americans who blaze their own trails by focusing on meeting the needs of others in their communities.

Pat Baker is one such fantastic Capital Caring volunteer.

Pat has been volunteering for Capital Caring for nearly 15 years, and illustrating the graciousness with which he lives his life, he recently said he is grateful to Capital Caring for offering him the opportunity to give back. “My volunteering is so rewarding,” he recently said. “Having the opportunity to help others transcend this difficult time in their life has been a wonderful blessing to me.” Pat, it is all of us at Capital Caring who should be thanking you!

When he volunteers with Capital Caring, Pat spends time with patients, talking to them and listening to their concerns. He has also delivered flowers as part of Capital Caring’s Random Acts of Flowers program. A talented singer, Pat has sung Christmas Carols at nursing homes and assisted living communities to the delight of the moms and dads we serve throughout the Capital region. He developed a great relationship with one of our patients who lived at a nearby assisted living facility, and (with the facility’s approval) brought him his favorite food – a strawberry milk shake from McDonald’s – every week.

Pat’s experience goes beyond singing and delivering flowers and milkshakes, however. As a former attorney and a Methodist pastor, Pat is able to talk with Capital Caring’s patients on many levels and can provide guidance on many levels. Martha Huffman, the Volunteer Coordinator in Capital Caring’s Alexandria neighborhood said Pat is “a delight – he is a dream volunteer and a pleasure to work with.” Martha recently recounted a story about Pat’s involvement in a Memorial Day event Capital Caring participated in a few years ago. Staff and volunteers visited with all the veterans who lived in the facility to honor their service; Pat Baker participated and proudly wore the uniform he served in during the Korean War.

As we honor Older Americans Month and reflect on this week’s Memorial Day holiday, it is fitting to pay tribute to one particular gentleman who is blazing a trail of service every day. Thank you, Pat Baker. You honor and inspire all of us with your dedication to supporting those around you.