Richard Haas has been an outstanding volunteer at two of the local nursing homes in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. In addition to that, he has participated in service with the Volunteer Services of Barron County – Interfaith for the past two years.
Haas was injured 10 years ago when he fell from the roof of his home onto a concrete sidewalk. The accident left him in a coma for six days. Four months of hospitalization followed. He then had to recuperate from the brain injuries he suffered because of the fall. Haas had to reclaim the use of his abilities to walk and speak, also. The road to recovery was a very long and challenging one, especially since at the time of his fall, he and his wife, Pat had three young children, the youngest being only one year old.
Haas was come a long way from that day 10 years ago. His wife was told he probably would not survive the accident, and if he did, he would probably be in a vegetative state. Haas was determined to recover and began an intensive therapy and rehabilitation plan so he could provide a real family life for his wife and children. He realized he would always suffer some limitations because of his injuries, but he was determined to succeed in recovery.
It was after recuperating from his accident that Haas began volunteering. When he was in the hospital for four months, his wife was at his side almost continually. His friends, parents and other relatives took over caring for their home and helped with the children. Haas knew he was fortunate and had to give back and help others just as he and his family had been helped.
His achievements in volunteering have been numerous. Initially, he was a regular visitor at two nursing homes where he sat and talked to residents who had no family or family that seldom visited. He found the time to be there for them on a regular basis. In 1997, he became a volunteer for Barron County Volunteer Services – Interfaith, which is a non-profit volunteer organization that addresses unmet needs of the frail, elderly and disabled in the county.
Haas rakes leaves, shovels snow, does minor home repairs, respite care and friendly visiting. When called upon, he always finds the time to help those in need. He has maintained an ongoing, friendly visiting relationship with a Parkinson’s patient since 1998, when the gentleman’s sister informed them that her brother was suffering from depression due to being diagnosed with the disease. Haas answered this call and now visits weekly with this man who lives alone. He has helped to cheer him from his depression and has become a source of encouragement to him.
Haas has overcome his own disability and become of living example of hope. His life assists others in overcoming depression and helplessness. He is an excellent example of turning a negative situation into a positive one.