As a volunteer for the GIVE Program, which provides in home support to frail homebound seniors and the disabled, Dee Mireles contributed nearly 400 hours last year alone. She provided transportation, which enabled clients to shop for groceries, go to medical appointments and run routine errands. She volunteered as a “friendly visitor” for a woman who was homebound because she couldn’t walk. She visited with residents of an assisted living facility “because they get so lonely.” She also took six residents of a foster care home out to eat on a regular basis, making “care packages” as a treat for each lady.
Mireles is an inspiration for all around her. Although she works full-time, she looks forward to helping others during her “time off.” Because of her efforts, 80 people are given a hot breakfast several times a month, are served Thanksgiving dinner, and others are provided with coats, boots, socks and toiletry items. She enlists the help of the members of her church for such things as making, serving and cleaning up the meals, providing them with the opportunity to serve. She is a very dedicated, caring individual who is willing to help out at the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, her church, assisted-living facilities and the Food Clinic whenever needed. Imagine the impact Mireles had on the woman whose leg was amputated due to diabetes, but who wanted to go to the movies like she did years ago. She accompanied her twice a month, creating a very special and eagerly anticipated event in the woman’s life.
As a full time employee, the greatest obstacle Mireles has to overcome is the time and energy to keep going after her “normal” workday is through. But her love for people and her feeling that “if you supply the will, God will do the rest” keeps her motivated and focused on making a difference in someone’s life. She not only gives of her time, but also has to spend her own money for the gas to transport clients, and for the crafts projects she makes as gifts for clients. Having legally adopted her grandson a few years ago, she faces the obstacle of dividing her time between her job, her grandson and her volunteer work. Although anyone of those jobs would constitute a full-time position, Mireles manages all with a sense of duty and responsibility.
Her lifetime has been one of giving and expecting nothing in return. She took care of her husband who had diabetes until his death, looked after her aunt in a foster care home, and assisted her grandmother when she was ill. Her life is one of dedication and service without reward.