Man volunteers with 'Christian spirit'

Cary Ashby • Feb 12, 2018 at 2:00 AM

You name it, Dennis Klamar has done it at Twilight Gardens.

Thursday marked his 10th year of volunteering at the Norwalk nursing home. On Friday, Klamar was honored for his service and time with a song and large cake.

The Bellevue man told the residents it’s been his honor volunteering and told them he loves them. One lady stood and said “I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to give you a hug.”

Klamar, who has a part-time job at Bellevue Hotel & Suites, averages 20 to 25 hours volunteering at Twilight Gardens. He’s usually there Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

“Feb. 8, 2008 was when I started,” Klamar said.

His list of volunteer work is impressive and varied.

“I collect all the shredding,” he said. “I take out the trash every day. I visit people. I minister with people. I counsel people.”

In addition, Klamar helps lift the boxes from food deliveries twice a week. On Wednesdays, he assists with leading the rosary for a small group of Catholic residents.

Klamar considers volunteering a way of tithing.

“He is inspired by a line in a song by John Prince ‘Just Say Hello’; what that means to Dennis is that it is important to talk to those who are withdrawn or suffering, ‘just say hello,’” according to a letter from the nursing home. “(He has) a caring, Christian spirit (and) believes in helping others to find joy in each moment. … When you ask him why, he will tell you that he is there to serve the Lord and he is quick to say the Lord gets all the glory.”

Before Heather Petersen became the business office manager, Klamar helped her with the dialysis transports, trips that took them to Cleveland and Toledo at times. A sports enthusiast, Klamar has assisted with outings to the Toledo Zoo, Huron County Fair and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

“He brightens our day. He does the little things they need,” said Petersen, who has worked at Twilight Gardens for 13 years. 

Petersen said Klamar excels at connecting with the residents since they have similar tastes in music and movies.

The long-time volunteer also helps serve lunch and delivers trays to the units.

“He just jumps in and does it,” Petersen said. “It’s very crucial … because he can do things you don’t think need to be done.”

Klamar is known for making people smile and laugh. One day there were several residents lined up to get their hair done.

“I told them she does a nice job on your hair, but don’t let her do your nails; look at what she did to me,” said Klamar, who laid out his hand, but kept half of one finger hidden. “They all laughed.

“What I like to doing the most is getting a smile.”

Dietary manager Cindy Wood has witnessed Klamar’s hard work for the 3 1/2 years she has worked at Twilight Gardens.

“He comes in bright and early in the morning. He will get coffee for the early-risers,” Wood said. “Anything we ask him to do, he’ll do. 

“He’s always making people smile with jokes,” she added.

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