Chris retired in 2016 after more than 30 years as a newspaper photojournalist. It seemed to him like a useful public service job and it allowed him to cover an incredible range of stories and people. Although he was looking forward to pursuing his hobbies in retirement, he still wanted to be of some use to others. When he happened upon a newspaper story about the neighbors helping neighbors movement, he followed up and called At Home by High and the rest is history.
Volunteering, much like his career in journalism, has allowed Chris to meet new people he would never run into during the course of his regular day. He has enjoyed their company and learning something about their lives. “Helping people with their day to day needs not only feels useful, it also provided me with a routine that was beneficial,” he says.
Chris’ conversations with members during his drives with them to and from the store have covered a wide range of topics from hearing aid dilemmas to politics. “My only adventures have revolved around trying to locate some of Bo’s food requests in the aisles at Kroger,” he says. “Bo’s apartment is generally filled with tasty aromas provided by his home aide Sheila’s cooking. But I have often struggled to find where Kroger might hide their pig knuckles, chicken’s feet and ham hocks.”
Chris started his volunteer duties shopping with John and picking up items for Bo. Over time Jim became a regular ride along shopper. John has an outsize personality and can be alarmingly candid. A gifted boxer and a bicycle racer with a degree in physics from OSU, he has plenty of stories to tell and opinions to share. Bo by comparison is not chatty, but he and Chris share an interest in the Steelers. What is more, Bo is an enormous music fan who shared some valuable travel ideas for Chris prior to a pre-COVID Mardi Gras trip to New Orleans. As for Jim, he and Chris a somewhat sardonic view of the world. Fortunately they all lean the same way politically, so car rides to Kroger are always enjoyable.
When not volunteering Chris has an almost full time job as a house husband. He keeps the house clean and tidy and also uses a kitchen app to cook. He also enjoys whitewater kayaking and bike camping in southwest Pennsylvania and West Virginia.