Northwest Valley Connect volunteer serves seniors with transportation needs

Northwest Valley Connect volunteer serves seniors with transportation needs

December 29, 2015
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Northwest Valley Connect (NVC) volunteer Dick Langford has a philosophy when it comes to volunteering: “The want to volunteer should be all you need to get started. No one can convince you except for yourself.”

Langford is the embodiment of his own philosophy, serving not just NVC, but several other local nonprofits too. “There came a time when I realized I had spent years just worrying about myself and my family,” he says. “Now that I’m retired, I felt like it was finally the time to give back.”

Raised in upstate New York, Langford has called Arizona home for only four years. In that time, he has made a significant impact on the volunteer community, especially the senior NVC clients in need of transportation.

Langford first heard about NVC volunteer opportunities a year ago, when he was flipping through the newspaper. “An article caught my eye. A new nonprofit was looking for volunteers,” he says. “I called Northwest Valley Connect and signed up for the first-ever volunteer training class. The rest, they say, is history.”

At the time, Langford was one of only four volunteers. “A year ago, there was no call center or any of the great programs that NVC offers—only a vision. I’ve watched this organization grow, especially in the last six months.”

NVC now boasts 30 volunteers serving hundreds of seniors in need. Despite the increase of volunteers, NVC still struggles to meet a growing need in the West Valley—transportation for seniors who are unable to drive.

As a part of the RideConnect volunteer driver program, Langford provides personalized transportation for some of these seniors. “I like being a volunteer driver,” he says. “It’s rewarding knowing that you are helping improve someone’s life. Volunteer drivers help fill a legitimate need, and our clients are truly appreciative.”

When Langford is not serving NVC’s seniors, he is making a difference elsewhere in the community. He is a volunteer at the HART (Helping at Risk Teens) Pantry, where his wife, Ruth, serves as the executive director. At the HART Pantry, Langford prepares weekend food bags for at-risk teens with no parents or guardian to provide for them.

Langford’s generosity doesn’t extend to just humans—he volunteers with his daughter, Cassie, and the Louie and Friends Foundation to help rescue dogs and assist families with high veterinarian bills. He recently took a weekend trip to Colorado to help his daughter bring a rescue dog to its forever home.

Even as the holiday season ends, Langford is still busier than ever. At least twice a week he can be found driving seniors to doctor’s appointments, grocery stores and even Silver Sneakers classes at the YMCA.

He looks forward to watching NVC continue to grow. “NVC staff and volunteers truly put their heart and soul into this organization,” Langford says. “Getting a few donated vans or cars, and definitely getting more volunteers to join would open up entirely new possibilities.”

If you would like to join Dick and become a volunteer driver, or are interested in other volunteer positions at Northwest Valley Connect, please call Kathy Chandler at 623-282-9300 or kchandler@northwestvalleyconnect.org.

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