Volunteer Spotlight: Mike Cuba

Name: Mike Cuba

How long have you been a volunteer?
Five years.

What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do?
Bakes, crochets lap-blankets, home deliveries, teaches Tai Chi classes twice a week, serves on the Ethics committee, and sometimes sings in the choir.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
My wife, Jane, has been volunteering here for 20 years. She knits. She’s amazing. She can work with patients, I couldn’t do that. I haven’t got the emotional strength for it. She does home care and she knits lap-blankets. I figured if she can knit them, I can crochet them. I’ve crocheted since I was in college. She does the nice, pretty pastel ones, and I do ones I think I would like more. Different colors, different patterns. Different textures too. I figured you need a little bit of texture, especially if it’s for an ex-military patient. That’s how I got into volunteering.

Mike teaches Tai Chi twice a week.
What is your favorite part about volunteering?
For purely selfish motive it takes me about 30 hours to make one of those blankets and I do it while I’m watching TV. Crocheting is my excuse for watching TV.

I also enjoy meeting the people here, even though I don’t share a lot of their philosophy. I’m agnostic…and one of the interesting things that I do is serve on the Ethics Committee.  When Syndie [Angela Hospice’s Volunteer Services Manager] asked me to be on it I said, “Boy, have you got the wrong vampire.” She said, “No, we need all sorts of viewpoints." I like the mental challenge there.

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
A couple of years ago, I think it was Valentine’s Day, there was normally going to be something going on but it got cancelled because it was Valentine’s Day. So Jane and I made up about four batches of cookie dough, brought them all in, and started making cookies in the Care Center kitchen.

We were just going to make them and set them out. A couple of patients came in with their families while we were making the cookies and we had a nice discussion with them. I guess one of them had been a baker and they were sharing stories with us. It was one of the few times I’ve directly interacted with the patients and their families. They had some of the cookies and they enjoyed them.

We made three or four different kinds of cookies and had a good time.

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