(Posted May 9, 2019)
Fred and Donna Reeder share their vitality and talent through heartfelt service to their community. They will be recognized for that service on May 15 when they are inducted into the Central Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame as Madison County’s 2019 honorees.
Since retiring as educators, the Reeders have volunteered with LifeCare Alliance’s Meals-on-Wheels program in London since 2013. They visit with homebound clients to deliver hot, nutritious meals and provide basic wellness checks. They have dedicated more than 700 hours of their time to Meals-On-Wheels.
“I think it’s a great thing to do, to be able to help people in need,” said Fred Reeder. “We look forward to seeing them as much as they look forward to seeing us.”
Through their work with Meals-On-Wheels, the Reeders have developed positive relationships with the people along their route.
Recalling one of their most special clients, Donna Reeder said, “When we first started out, we had an elderly woman who was 97 years old. Fred would sing to her. And she would smile from ear to ear.”
Volunteers like the Reeders go far beyond simply delivering food and making sure clients are okay. Many clients face what is known as senior isolation.
“Oftentimes, we’re the only people they talk to,” Fred said. “We’ve had a couple of really special older ladies who share stories with us. They’re walking history books.”
In addition to their Meals-on-Wheels service, the Reeders volunteer at Madison Health in London. For five years, they have donated their time at the hospital’s front desk, helping with registration, answering phones, and directing patients and families to the correct locations.
“We like being busy with people,” said Donna. “We talk with them and comfort them. It keeps us active and it keeps us in touch with other people.”
The Reeders have been married for 54 years. They met in West Virginia, but their careers brought them to the Buckeye State.
Donna taught for 20 years at Madison Rural Elementary and was known for her affinity for the stars and stripes, being voted most patriotic teacher. She has been a Martha Holding Jennings Scholar and an Ashland Oil runner-up, two distinguished honors for teaching. After retirement, she stayed active with the district, spending seven years as a substitute teacher.
Fred also was a teacher, then a school superintendent. He spent about a decade as an officer of the Buckeye Association of School Administrators. The Reeders’ careers took them all over Ohio, and Fred was a leader of civic organizations in every community in which the couple lived. After age 60, he was president of the Lions Club of London and served on the board for six years. He also served as vice president, president, and interim director of the Madison County Senior Center.
Both Fred and Donna have been active in the Presbyterian Church. He was a singer and she taught Sunday School. Both are elders in the Presbyterian Church.
“We enjoy helping people,” Fred said. “We’ve both been around public service for years. It’s natural for us.”
Fred served in the United States Marine Corps for four years, and he was selected as a Goodwill Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China in 1986 by the State Board of Education.
Donna was recognized as a lifetime member of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program for teacher service of 20 years.
The Reeders are among 13 individuals being inducted into the Central Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame. The other honorees hail from Delaware, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Licking, Pickaway and Union counties. The Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging. The ceremony will take place at the Martin Janis Center in Columbus.