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3 min read

Volunteers: Rivers of Living Water

In many ways, volunteers make UGM’s world go ‘round. They help with everything from case management to medical care to chapel. In 2015, approximately 1,000 volunteers provided more than 109,000 hours of work – equivalent to 52 full-time employees.

We’re incredibly grateful for our volunteers. It’s because of them the hungry are fed, families are restored, individuals are given a second chance, lives are transformed, and the list goes on.

This reflection was written by Ann, a resident in Women’s Recovery at Anna Ogden Hall, for UGM’s recent volunteer appreciation event. She, too, feels thankful for UGM volunteers and all they do, and her piece paints a picture of what the volunteers do and the impact they're making.

John 7:38 - rivers of living water.

That’s what the volunteers who have touched my life represent to me – rivers of living water.

Oswald Chambers says, “A river touches places of which its source knows nothing, and Jesus says if we have received of His fullness, however small the visible measure of our lives, out of us will flow the rivers that will bless to the uttermost parts of the earth. We have nothing to do with the outflow – ‘This is the work of God that ye believe….’ God rarely allows a soul to see how great a blessing he is.”

Tonight, I would like to attempt to show you what a great blessing the volunteers who have given their time, their skills and their love are, and how they have affected my life.

I entered Anna Ogden Hall on February 17th, 2015 and on Thursday, I will enter the final phase of this LIFE Recovery program. During this phase I will transition into work, church and community outside of Anna Ogden.


I am honored to be here to recognize and thank the following people:

Kathleen Wilson who taught a class on Boundaries. Lori Napier who volunteered for the Beyond Boundaries class.

Ken and Rachel Carpenter who did a phenomenal job of teaching the Bible study “Stranger on the Road.”

Francine and Gail who taught Pillars of Grace.

Chris Schueler who volunteers in the kitchen every Monday and bakes scrumptious desserts that we get to devour warm, right out of the oven.

There are several local churches that bring food, family and fellowship to us on Sunday evenings. The Supper sisters have been preparing and serving dinner for residents once a month for 10 years!

Personal-care-items.jpgPlus, the wonderful Pam Cate has been baking us cookies or cakes every Thursday night for almost three years.

Each resident at Anna Ogden Hall is assigned a morning chore and an evening chore where we earn points to purchase our own personal care items or our clothing. Aslan’s is the onsite store. Terry and Darrel Koch and Jill Skogstad have been volunteering every Monday night for seven years! Valenka is another volunteer in Aslan’s.

Rebecca Mielke volunteers on Saturdays to drive us to the UGM Thrift Store and waits patiently while we shop. Rebecca has an eye for fashion and the details of our point system.

We are blessed by Jill Weiszmann’s wisdom on the benefits of essential oils.

Speaking of essentials, we even had Sheryl Maat come in and volunteer countless hours to teach us about our credit scores.

So while we are on the subject of numbers, I want to acknowledge James Curtiss who is a longtime volunteer in our Vocational Education Center. And it took him a long time and a lot of patience to try to teach me ratios, portions and percents when I kept saying, “The Lord is my portion, therefore I put my hope in Him” not that formula of P=R x W. Whatever that meant.

One more “numbers volunteer person”: Thank you to my former case manager Leslie Barta whose insistence on teaching me budgeting has life-long impact all while she told me “I was a case to manage.”

Please bear with me here. When Greg (UGM Director of Volunteers) asked me to speak, I really wasn’t fully aware of the huge impact you volunteers have had on my success at Anna Ogden Hall, and this is longer than I anticipated. My gratitude is deep and sincere to those I have mentioned and to the following people.

Because of YOU, Kelly, I completed a half marathon. Because of Peak 7, I went rafting and I climbed Mt. Spokane on snowshoes. Three things I never experienced in 60 years of living.

snowshoeing.jpgA huge thank you to Georgia Ferguson for all the fun and kindness she has brought during her volunteering on Tuesday nights. Plus, she found me the best mentor ever, Shirley Greenburg. We are a perfect pair.

God had his hand in giving me my volunteer counselor, Caryl Altmeyer. She has helped me to learn so many new ways that have transformed my legacy. From her, I see that outside the Bible, I cannot offer true, unfailing solutions.

My final “Because of you” goes out to Pat Haldi who is the volunteer for our Smoking Cessation class. I first met Pat in March of 2015. A smokerlyzer monitor had been donated and through it and the education I received, I quit smoking. Pat is an amazing role-model. She just developed a t-shirt and is donating her time not only for the classes but to sew the UGM patches on the shirts herself.

Because of ALL of you, I am free! I’m not longer a slave to fear! I am a child of God! I hope you leave here tonight knowing that because of your belief in Jesus, you are rivers of flowing waters that have touched my life.



At the Volunteer Appreciation event, the following volunteers were recognized as “Volunteers of the Year” or with a special award. 

Gary Leonard                     

Roy Jeffrey               

Janet Broughton

Kim Greer               

Patricia Haldi,             

Tim and Amanda Hepper                              

Matt Cunningham

Dottie Braithwait                

Randy Crews

Adam Swensen

Karen Smith           


Albert Arend: Larry Scott

Life of Service: Jim Carson

Staff Helping Hands Award: Annie Crain

Feeling inspired to become a volunteer? Help the homeless using your gifts at UGM!

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