RANDOLPH (WKOW) -- This month, the Jefferson Award goes to a Columbia County couple who go the extra mile to help their neighbors.
On the road of life, it's nice to have someone to share the journey.
Al and Irene Van Loo have been on the same journey for almost seven decades. Along the way, they raised five kids, ran a dairy farm and realized retirement gave them an opportunity to help others.
"We're here on earth to serve people. Save to serve, I always say," remarked Irene.
For the past 25-years, the Van Loos have been serving meals to people confined to their homes in and around the Randolph area.
Delivering meals appealed to the Van Loos as a way to give back when they retired from farming. Years earlier, they had been the recipients of meals from neighbors and friends when their son was going through treatment for a malignant brain tumor. That food of kindness helped them cope with their son's death and inspired them to volunteer.
"Just to have somebody come in. It really means something to them," said Al.
"Every time they come, they talk, for a couple of minutes. They don't have much time. But, for a couple of minutes, they cheer people up," said Elizabeth Sameitat, who has been on the Van Loo's delivery route for almost a decade .
And, at 88 and 86 years old, respectively, Al and Irene appreciate the chance to spend time with some of their peers.
"We love, enjoy older people. Because we're old too, see," says Al.
But still young enough to answer the call to volunteer.
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