Paying it forward: Volunteer likes to keep busy

Charlie Schwartz admits he’s never been able to sit still for long. And as a volunteer with the Marietta Civitan Club, Washington County Chapter American Red Cross, and Gilman United Methodist Church, he has plenty to keep him busy every day. On Friday Schwartz was helping set up the Civitan’s sausage sandwich booth during Marietta’s Riverfront Roar.

Question: How long have you been volunteering?

Answer: I started with the Civitan 37 years ago, and have been with the Red Cross for seven years now. I’ve been a member at Gilman UMC for about 46 years where I also do some volunteer work.

Q: Volunteering for for three organizations must keep you running.

A: I grew up on a farm and was working in the hayfields when I was 9 years old. So I’ve been used to working all my life. I like to keep busy all the time-almost every day I’m doing something. And since my wife, Donna, passed away in 2006 this is what consumes my time.

Q: Civitan International promotes community volunteerism-what are your duties with the local group?

A: I’ll begin serving as president-elect in October, but I really like to work in the background. I’ll help set up food booths for different events, and I like to cook.

Q: Is the Civitan membership growing?

A: We have about 35 members now, but there used to be 150 when I started. But that seems to be the trend for all of the local civic organizations. I think more young people need to get involved-especially young professionals.

Q: Your daughter, Sheri Schwartz, is the current Red Cross director, but you have been there for seven years now-how did you become involved?

A: Seven years ago (former Washington County Red Cross director) Jo Seyler asked me to serve, and I became treasurer for the board of directors. But I also go out on runs with Sheri when a canteen is needed for first responders at fires or other emergencies. Many firefighters who are called out will leave the fire scene after they’re done and go directly to their regular jobs. We try to supply them with coffee and some food, otherwise they may go to work hungry. And area businesses are good to donate food for our field canteens.

Q: What kind of volunteer work do you provide for Gilman UMC?

A: I’m a “part-part-time” custodian, but have also worked to repair the roof and security system. And right now I’m helping install a sound system for the church.

Q: Volunteering seems to run in your family.

A: Yes, Sheri also belongs to the Civitan Ladies group, and my mom, Jane Schwartz, worked with the Red Cross and Civil Defense years ago. I used to help with Civil Defense and the Civil Air Patrol when I was in junior high school, too. I really enjoy volunteering and helping people-especially the physical work. It’s interesting and you meet all kinds of people when you volunteer. And entire families can get involved. I’d recommend it to anyone.