We have an amazing community of volunteers who faithfully and generously give their time and energy to serve seniors throughout Boulder County. In an effort to recognize their work, and so that our entire community can get to know our volunteers, we started our Volunteer of the Month award program.

We’re delighted to introduce you to Wayne Hoeben, our July 2019 Volunteer of the Month. Wayne volunteers with our VetsGo program and helps senior veterans in our community safely and reliably reach their medical appointments at VA facilities. For senior vets who are unable to or feel uncomfortable driving, reaching necessary appointments at VA facilities throughout the region can be a significant challenge. Wayne’s support means that the vets he drives don’t have to worry about coordinating costly or confusing alternatives. 

Inspired by Wayne? You, too, can support senior veterans in our community as a VetsGo driver. It’s a great opportunity to give back, particularly if you’re a veteran. Get started today!

Where did you grow up? 

I spent my early childhood in Florida. I came to Colorado when I was 13 years old. 

What was your childhood ambition?

One of the things I wanted to do when I was young was go and have a career in the military. After I was in the military for awhile I decided the career thing wasn’t quite as interesting as I had thought it was going to be. Nevertheless, the time I spent there was rewarding. I enjoyed it a lot. I think it helped me grow up.

What has been one of your challenges in life?

I have two family members who have been disabled by medical issues. It’s challenged me to grow and become more compassionate so that I was able to help them. And I have to tell you, that didn’t come easily to me, because I didn’t acquire that when I was young. My family really didn’t lean in that direction that much. Everybody was pretty withdrawn into themselves. So I had to learn that, and it was a challenge. 

What are you passionate about?

I love the outdoors. I’ve been a life-long outdoorsman—hunting, fishing, hiking, camping—and I still love it. I do it as much as I can. Some of it I’ve had to step away from because of physical limitations. But I still really look forward to getting out and camping, doing some fishing, just being out in nature. 

What are some of your hobbies?

I’m a do-it-yourselfer. I enjoy working with my hands, fixing things. I like working in my yard. I love to read — mystery and suspense. It’s fun to interact with some of the folks I transport, because some of those folks are readers and we’ll swap books with each other.

What is one item on your bucket list?

My wife and I went on a cruise for our 50th anniversary. We went to Alaska. It was wonderful. I gotta tell you, she was more enthusiastic about the cruise thing than I was. But I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed it once we got started and I found out how much fun it was. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’d do it again in a heartbeat if I could find a bucket full of money. 

Who or what inspires you?

This will sound like a cliche, but my mother was my biggest inspiration. She was basically a full-time volunteer in her retirement years even though she was legally blind. She was always looking for ways to help other people and it made a huge impact on me. I sometimes feel like I’m carrying on her work for her.

Why do you volunteer?

It is a way of life that my mother instilled in me. The idea that while you’re able to help other people, there are many folks in the world who need a helping hand. I get more out of the help I give to people than they get out of the help I give to them, in terms of how it makes me feel. 

I got started doing the volunteer thing with Habitat for Humanity because of my carpentry skills. I was a carpenter in one of my earlier careers. I saw an opportunity to use those skills to assist other people. And honestly, it was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I got started down in Louisiana after Katrina. It just blew me away—the destruction and the love that those people gave back to the folks that came down there to help them. I could tell you stories about some of the things those folks did down there that were just unbelievable. It’s the southern hospitality thing coming out along with a freely given demonstration of their appreciation. It was awesome. That really got the ball rolling for me. 

Why Cultivate?

Well, I had an after-retirement job for about three years that kept me busy. When that job ended, I was casting around for something to do to keep myself active. I saw a story in the newspaper about Cultivate and how they were taking over the transportation of veterans for Vets Helping Vets that used to operate in Longmont. It sounded really interesting to me so I called up and interviewed. And here we are.

Volunteering with us is easy, flexible and fun! Join our volunteer team today and, like the Yankees, make a deep impact in the lives of your senior neighbors.