In December 2022, Don Seay was recognized by the Town of Cary as a finalist for its annual Hometown Spirit Award, which recognizes community-minded Cary residents who enhance the quality of life in Cary by preserving, promoting, and carrying out positive small-town community values and traits. Don was nominated by the staff of The Center for Volunteer Caregiving. He began volunteering with The Center in April 2020 and has reported a whopping 1,121 hours of volunteer service since then. The Center’s volunteer opportunities called to him as he watched his elderly neighbors struggle to maintain their independence.
Don has volunteered primarily in The Center’s caregiver respite program. In this program, volunteers give family caregivers a much needed break from taking care of a loved one 24/7. Don has seen first-hand the many stressors that family caregivers face and enjoys giving them a break. When Don starts a new volunteer assignment, he develops a relationship with both the caregiver and the care receiver, earning their trust and building comradery. He explores his care receiver’s interests to find something in common that he and his care receiver can share. Don continues to learn and grow through his connections with the care receivers he visits. He has learned to play checkers with Howard, practices his scrabble game with Bob, and discusses astronomy and black holes with Barry. Don keeps active during his visits where they may play harmonicas together or do stretching exercises with a Parkinson’s care receiver.
Don has seen the positive impact he is having on the caregivers. When he first began visiting one of his caregivers, she was overwhelmed. During this past year he has seen her shift to a place of more ease. She is not as overwhelmed and is able to take time for herself, such as attending a regular yoga class.
Families enjoy Don as much as he enjoys volunteering. One caregiver wrote “It helps me so much and I appreciate Howard’s wonderful caregiver [Don]. He is so good with Howard and I am so thankful.” On a recent phone call with another family, the caregiver raved about how much they love Don and what a great help he has been to them over the past year.
Thank you for your tremendous service to our community, Don!
Don is no stranger to volunteering and serving his community. A few of his past volunteer roles include serving as a coach for his children’s sports teams in Cary, Cub Scout leader, high school mentor, and with the Miracle League of the Triangle (a baseball league for people with disabilities). Recently, he began volunteering with NC Special Olympics.
(Photo: Don Seay with CVC staff Elaine Whitford (left) and Lisa Hoskins (right))