Senior Week: Fedderns are bound for Fame

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Robert and Dortha Feddern will be inducted into the Central Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame this week.

On May 21, Robert and Dortha Feddern of West Jefferson will be among 11 individuals inducted into the Central Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame. The annual ceremony, coordinated by the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging, will take place at the Martin Janis Senior Center in Columbus.

LifeCare Alliance Meals-on-Wheels Madison County nominated the Fedderns for induction.  

When they began delivering meals in the early 1990s, Bob and Dortha made a commitment to volunteer once a week. Since then, they have learned many of the delivery routes and made a number of friends along the way.  

Technically scheduled for two days a week, the couple often volunteers for five days simply because they are concerned about people who need of a hot, nutritious meal and a warm smile. The Fedderns know they are the only people many clients see in a day and recognize the sense of isolation.

Bob and Dortha have set an example for their two children and five grandchildren, who also volunteer. Now, a great-grandchild is following in their footsteps, making the rounds on the meal delivery routes. For their efforts, the Fedderns received the first LifeCare Alliance Madison County Spirit Award in 2004.

Bob and Dortha’s commitment to caring goes beyond Meals-on-Wheels. They are very active members of Zion Lutheran Church, having served on the church council and on many committees. One of their passions is their work with the church’s food pantry and with HELP House.

Since 1968, the couple has served on many committees as members of the West Jefferson Community Association. Bob has held the office of president and is now assistant treasurer. Dortha has chaired the Senior Citizens Christmas Party for many years. In 1994, Bob was selected as grand marshal of the association’s annual Ox Roast parade. He also was recognized in 2005 for being the most senior rider to complete 16 "Ride with the Ox" bicycle rides.

The Fedderns also share their compassion close to home. For several years, they cared for Bob’s mother in their home, where Bob’s sister stayed to convalesce, as well. They also freely reach out to neighbors in need.

Born in Canton, Ohio, Bob moved to West Jefferson in 1939. After graduation from West Jefferson High School, he joined the Army Air Corps and served his country from 1943 to 1945. Upon his return to civilian life, he was a brakeman, conductor and yardmaster for the NYC Railroad. He later became chief railroad inspector and was employed by the PUCO until he retired in1987.

Bob is a winner of the West Jefferson Alumni Citizenship Award. As a member of the American Legion Honor Guard and Firing Squad, he has paid tribute to his fellow veterans at graveside services since1995.

A graduate of Marysville High School, Dortha moved to West Jefferson after marrying Bob in 1949. She was a homemaker and stay-at-home mom for their children, Janis and Jim.  

The Fedderns have never met a stranger. They make new friends with ease and share their time freely to make life better for others. At 84 and 79, respectively, Bob and Dortha continue to stay as active in their church, community and the Meals-on-Wheels program. They feel privileged to touch so many lives, treasuring their many friendships and finding fulfillment in volunteering.

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