Lifelong profession leads to volunteer connection
By Jennie Berkson
Although early in her career as a physical therapist ShareCare volunteer Terri Myers concentrated on pediatrics and neurology, later on she found satisfaction doing home care with senior citizens.
“I’d come in the door and they’d greet me and offer a cup of tea,” she recalled. “I had to gently remind them that we also had to do some work together!”
Terri became interested in being a physical therapist as a young person.
“I was the second of five children and I knew I wanted to get into medical field. In middle school and high school I did some volunteering and I was able to observe the physical therapists. I thought this is for me.”
After she retired, Terri found that she missed the work.
“There was a gentleman who lived next door to us who wanted to stay in his home and was a ShareCare client. The nurse who visited him knew I was a physical therapist and would call me up on the phone to come help,” she said. That activity got her connected to her to ShareCare.
“I was a driver before COVID hit and ShareCare cancelled the volunteer drivers. That’s when I got into doing phone calls,” she said. “I have one couple and two single women I call regularly. The calls are mostly focused getting to know them. It’s rarely about what they need in an urgent way, they’re all in good enough shape.”
In addition to hiking or cross-country skiing with her rescue dog Lulu, a boxer/Lab mix, Terri volunteers with several other local organizations including Generations Ahead, which mentors teenage mothers, the Glen Arbor Cemetery Advisory Board and Friends of the Sleeping Bear Dunes.
“I remind people how difficult it is to climb back up the steep part of the dunes,” she said.
Terri’s husband John is the cook in the family.
“We eat a lot of seafood and veggies. He makes a good Pad Thai,” she said appreciatively.
Terri and John have five children and four grandchildren who live in far flung locations.
“Columbus, Fairbanks, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Berlin, the Netherlands,” she said. “It’s hard to get us all together.”
These days, you might find Terri engaged in a new hobby.
“I’m teaching myself to play the ukulele,” she said. “There’s lots of You-Tube videos for instruction. I love to print out old folk-songs and bluegrass.”