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Oakmont woman's giving spirit enhances others' lives

| Monday, April 29, 2013, 12:11 a.m.
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Golden LivingCenter volunteer Amy Sauers, left, scoops ice cream for root beer floats for residents with Director of Activities Karen Belin at the Oakmont nursing home on Sunday, April 28, 2013.
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Golden LivingCenter volunteer Amy Sauers at the Oakmont nursing home on Sunday, April 28, 2013.

From her brother's perspective, Amy Sauers' efforts can send a message to many.

“I hope Amy's story inspires others to volunteer,” Mark Sauers said. “We all need to give more than we take nowadays, and I think it's important, especially for our elderly and the people who are disadvantaged.”

By all appearances, his sister has been giving more than she takes for the past 16 years. Amy Sauers is a volunteer at Golden LivingCenter in Oakmont. At the nursing home, she contributes on a near-daily basis, providing help and support to residents and staff alike.

For Sauers, volunteering is an important part of her life.

“I like it,” she said. “I like the people.”

While most would say she has special needs, her brother describes it as just the opposite — “a special gift.”

In spite of any challenges she may face, “she is giving back to the community, more so than a lot of folks,” he said. “She is a vital part of that community. I know her boss counts on her.

“I'm proud of her,” Mark Sauers added. “She inspires me, I know.”

The Oakmont resident's efforts range from calling bingo to serving ice cream to playing Nintendo Wii games with the residents. Those are just a few of the ways she is a vital member of the Golden LivingCenter team.

She also helps with arts-and-crafts activities, gives manicures and visits residents in their rooms.

“She's a big help to me. She's so upbeat, it makes it so much easier for me,” said Karen Belin, Golden Living's activities director.

From the sounds of it, she makes things easier for the residents, too.

Belin notes that Sauers pays close attention to those in the nursing home as they go about their day. She also has a special ability to calm the residents who have difficulty communicating.

“She does everything so well; she's so gregarious and really watches out for them and cares about them,” Belin said. “I think she's amazing, myself.”

That the residents all know and love her was evident as they waited for ice cream in the dining room on a rainy afternoon.

“Amy's always around when there's something going on to help people out,” said Jack Gray, 79.

In his 20 months as a Golden LivingCenter resident, the way that Sauers makes others feel has become his favorite part of having the enthusiastic volunteer around.

“She's always got a smile on her face and she's always laughing,” he said.

In addition to volunteering at Golden LivingCenter — which she sometimes does accompanied by her dachshund, Bailey — Sauers is dedicated to spending time at her church, St. Irenaeus Catholic Church in Oakmont.

Even there, some of her efforts lead back to the nursing home, like when she purchases books and games for the residents from the church's rummage sale with her own money.

According to Belin, her busy volunteer gives back to Golden LivingCenter in other ways, as well, thanks to her welcoming nature.

“She has so many friends,” she said. “She's actually got us more volunteers from the community. She's our best advertisement.”

Julie E. Martin is a freelance writer.

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