How service to others is a way of life for Ed Kletzky
One thing is clear about Ed Kletzky. Whether discussing the customers he bagged groceries for in the late 1960s or the senior neighbors he currently serves via Cultivate, it’s obvious that giving back to his community through service to others is a non-negotiable for him. While many would claim to be passionate about serving others, Ed goes the extra mile by also encouraging those around him to also embrace the value of service. In particular, he champions the cause of Cultivate. “I’ve talked about Cultivate with a lot of people. If I didn’t feel very strongly about it, I wouldn’t do that,” Ed tells us.
Born in 1950 in Atlanta, Georgia, Ed began working in service-oriented jobs ranging from paper routes to bagging groceries around the age of ten. “When I was working all those first jobs, it was always important to make sure I did the best that I could no matter what the job was,” says Ed. Beyond performing the actual job responsibilities, connecting with those he served was also something he deemed important.
Fast-forward to today and what was once a friendly conversation with a grocery store customer now looks like connecting personally with a senior he delivers groceries to or takes to a medical appointment.
He’s now been in the Boulder area since 1972. “It was a really good decision to come out to Boulder,” he says. “I love the community.” Beyond simply enjoying the outdoor activities that lure many to the area, he has also appreciated the opportunities to volunteer with the many nonprofits that have made Boulder County their home.
When he first discovered Cultivate, “hitting it off” with the volunteer coordinator at the time led to his decision to volunteer. The volunteer coordinator eventually moved to a new job, but Ed stayed because meeting the needs of the county’s seniors resonated with him; “Some people will call it ‘pay it forward’ or whatever, but there’s such a need for the service that Cultivate does.”
While meeting practical needs by delivering groceries or giving rides to medical appointments, Ed particularly enjoys getting to know the people he serves. He tells of becoming “terrific friends” with one blind client when what began as a simple grocery drop-off became more upon offering to put the groceries away for the man. The friendship eventually resulted in him taking the client, an avid baseball fan, into Denver to attend a Colorado Rockies game together.
He shares other stories of helping a client receive needed dental care upon discovering the specific barriers keeping her from doing so, and of attending multiple funerals of former clients. It’s obvious that for Ed, helping his senior neighbors is not an issue of checking “volunteering” off his to-do list, but something that he feels strongly is the right thing to do.
Although his desire to give back is strong, he also realizes that he too benefits from volunteering. “Even though that’s not the purpose, volunteering makes me a better person. In that way, it is also helping me probably five or ten times more than it’s actually helping the other person.”
In a time where it can be difficult to find willing volunteers, it’s even rarer to find an Ed Kletzky, someone not only committed to long-term volunteering, but also to championing the cause of an organization to others. “I’m talking about Cultivate all the time. I’ve gotten various friends to start volunteering here,” he says. Included among the people he has recruited are several a bit closer to him; his own wife and his 91 year-old mother-in-law.
While some view volunteering as an obligation, others consider it a way of life and something to be done wholeheartedly. Ed Kletzky is one of the latter group; “Service is part of my being; it’s in my blood.”
Volunteering with us is easy, flexible and fun! Join our volunteer team today and, like Ed, make a deep impact in the lives of your senior neighbors.
Help seniors flourish by reconnecting them—as recipients and contributors—with their surrounding communities.