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 | By Mike Frieseman

As a volunteer driver, Gary shares his faith

Gary Kinneer, a parishioner at St. Mary Magdalen in Brighton, is a retired business executive who  volunteers for Livingston County Catholic Charities.

Prayer: As a volunteer driver for Catholic Charities, I have expanded my prayers to include the elderly and physically impaired people I have taken to doctor appointments, grocery shopping and other places. Prayer has helped me develop loving relationships with the people I transport. During the drive to pick someone up, I pray they will enjoy my visit; and afterward I thank God for allowing me to bring more light into their day – and mine!

Invitation: Volunteering has given me the opportunity to share my belief in God with others. I often hear stories of depression and loneliness. I try to be a good listener and gently offer advice when I can. I hope the people I transport gain a better understanding of God’s purpose through the services we provide, which is to care for one another. Hopefully it brings them closer to God.

Witness: I try to be as uplifting as possible when transporting clients, and I use my own life stories to share how God has blessed me. We have had difficult times, but my wife Linda and I have always believed that God has, and will, help us through these times. When I share my faith with my clients, I pray they come away believing that God can make a difference in one’s life.

Accompaniment: The service I provide is only a small part of the total support structure that clients depend on, but the seemingly smallest things can have tremendous value. One time, I was asked if I was available immediately to drive a woman to see a friend who was near death. I was, and we arrived at the assisted care facility where the client was able to talk to her friend and sit with her until she died 30 minutes later. We both believed that special goodbye was a gift from God. Afterward, I thought, “that’s why I am a volunteer, that’s what it’s all about!”