Gary Naugle

For registered nurse, giving is in his blood

For registered nurse, giving is in his blood

May 18, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HALFWAY -- Gary Naugle delivers food for Meals on Wheels, mentors through Big Brothers Big Sisters and works at the free clinic. But he is most proud of a contribution he has made over the past 35 years: 157 pints of blood.

"Hopefully, one of those pints did somebody some good," he said.

Donating blood is easy, and he goes about five times a year. Far more often, Naugle helps his community in other ways.

Naugle, 66, of Halfway, averages about 12 hours of volunteering a week, he said.

One day a week, he delivers food for Meals on Wheels through the Washington County Commission on Aging. Every few weeks, he goes grocery shopping for someone he knows.

Once a week, he spends time with a young man assigned to him through Big Brothers Big Sisters. He's been mentoring through that program for 19 years, and has been spending time with the same "little brother" for about a year and a half.


"My own father died when I was 12 years old and it left quite a void in my life," Naugle said, explaining why he has spent so many years with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Naugle, a licensed practical nurse, spends an afternoon a week at the free clinic, where he screens patients and helps carry out doctors' orders. He also was active for several years with Community Rescue Service, and he remains a lifetime member.

"He is just a very concerned, loving, faithful individual," said Hannah Cramer, deputy director of the commission on aging. She knows Naugle through St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Funkstown, and asked him to work with the Meals on Wheels program.

For years, Naugle has coordinated the church's involvement in providing meals, and he volunteers at the cold weather shelter, Cramer said. This is the first year in some time that Naugle didn't coordinate the church's effort.

"He rallied everyone in our church" and on many occasions stayed overnight at the shelter to supervise, she said. "He is a very vocal advocate of the shelter."

Despite the praise, Naugle remains humble about whether he is making a difference.

"I need the volunteer work worse than it needs me ... I need that sense of satisfaction, sense of usefulness," he said.

Q&A with Gary Naugle

Resides in: Halfway

Occupation: Licensed practical nurse

Q: What is your proudest moment?

A: A couple of years ago, Naugle was at the Funkstown American Legion when he was approached by an Army staff sergeant. The sergeant said a few kind words about Naugle's involvement with a now-defunct mentoring program. Naugle had mentored the soldier, who joined the military after graduating from South Hagerstown High School. The solider made a career in the Army, was involved in the initial fighting in Iraq and gave Naugle a piece of Iraqi currency.

Q: Whom do you admire most, and why?

A: "I don't admire any one person. I admire those people who leave the country and settle in third world countries and provide services: missionaries, physicians, medical people."

Q: What is the best piece of advice you have received, and who gave it to you?

A: For Naugle, the best piece of advice came from the Bible: "Do everything without complaining or arguing." A wooden plaque with the phrase inscribed on it hangs in his house.

Q: What is the next goal you would like to achieve?

A: "I am satisfied with the life I lead. I'd just like to keep on doing what I've been doing. Be thankful for what you have."

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