Volunteers spring into action

July 01, 1997


Staff Writer

Passengers? Check. Seat belts? Check.

All systems are go as Jason and Mary Springer use their time and their rose-colored Oldsmobile to provide round-trip service to people with limited transportation options.

Most of the passengers are seniors.

The Springers volunteer at the Alexander House Inc. at 7 E. Washington St. in Hagerstown.

In recognition of their community service, they were two of 10 Washington County senior citizens honored on May 9, the first annual Salute to Seniors day.

"I do it because people need help," Jason Springer said of their years of volunteer work. "You can't help everybody, but you can do as much as possible."


Mary Springer agreed. "I've witnessed it - if you help somebody, God will help you."

Almost every week, the Springers prepare for outings to places like Brook Lane Psychiatric Center, Weis Markets, County Market, doctor's offices, therapy sessions and hospitals, including the Veterans Affairs Medical Center near Martinsburg, W.Va.

"He said to me, `You know, we're taking four different men to the VA hospital,'" Mary Springer said. "No wonder we're busy!"

Jason Springer, 75, had been a driver for the Edward M. Rude Carrier Corp. of Falling Waters W.Va. He retired in 1986, after 20 years.

Mary Springer, 83, had worked in her mother's dinette and for a short time as a practical nurse.

How did the Alexander House attract them? With food.

"We were looking for something to do," Jason Springer said. "I saw meals advertised once. I said, `Let's go in. They are people our own age.'"

"I wasn't enthused, but he wanted to do it," she said.

"It was the first time in 51 years she ever let me have my way," he said.

That one visit changed their lives, they said.

"It filled our life," Mary Springer said. "We are with our crowd, our age. It makes you feel younger."

She even met her 90-year-old cousin, Harry Everly, for the first time there.

"Most of the people they do things for, they sit right here and eat lunch with every day," said Emma Reger, nutrition site manager for the Washington County Commission on Aging at the Alexander House. "They're very conscious of the needs of others and want to make life easier for them."

Jason and Mary Springer have been driving since 1993, and they don't plan on running out of gas anytime soon.

But they did have to call a tow truck once.

"We broke down on Sharpsburg Pike under the 70 overpass," Jason Springer said. "The car just died."

The good news was that it was a return trip - no appointments were missed, they said.

They married in 1946 and moved to their Everly Road home in Kemps Mill, Md., in 1967. They have one daughter, Marcia Shifflet, 48, also of Hagerstown.

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