“I Still Do This in Honor of Him”
December 11, 2017
Longtime Meals on Wheels Central Texas volunteer Billy Gray credits a U.S. president with igniting the spark that prompted him to volunteer for us. But it’s someone with a much less lofty station in life who keeps that spark burning all these years later.
“I’m a Democrat who answered George W. Bush’s call for volunteerism,” Mr. Gray says of his 2002 decision to donate his time to MOWCTX. Coincidentally, on his first day as a new volunteer, he met the man who to this day inspires him to serve neighbors in need. Bill Sturdevant was Meal Manager at our Holy Cross Lutheran Church distribution site where Mr. Gray picked up meals for his route. “He became my inspiration, he had spent his life in service, first in the Air Force, and then volunteering for Meals on Wheels,” says Mr. Gray.
Before long, Mr. Gray was delivering two routes per week. One of his routes has since changed, but the other is the one he’s had since that very first day in 2002. He still delivers lunch to a few of the same folks he did back then. When asked what those longtime clients mean to him, he says, “it’s hard to put in words.” He pauses and then adds “family.” He says of the time he spends delivering meals and companionship, “it enriches your life and takes very little of your time.”
Speaking of time, his flexible schedule as a realtor allows him to also volunteer a third day a week. Every Monday, he serves as Meal Manager at our Prince of Peace Lutheran Church distribution site, which gives him a chance to meet other MOW volunteers. It’s the same type of job once held by his friend, Mr. Sturdevant, the man be believes defines volunteerism. “He died a few years ago,” says Mr. Gray. “He was a great guy and he gave me new insight. I still do this in honor of him.”