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Edmond man shares his time with others

Ralph Wheeler, 74, of Edmond, Oklahoma, has found various ways to give of his time to others through volunteering.
by Bryan Painter Modified: April 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm •  Published: April 6, 2014

Ralph Wheeler gives time away.

Wheeler, 74, retired from an insurance company and could have kept his time to his himself. Instead Wheeler, who already was volunteering, continues to use his time for others.

“I didn’t start volunteering until I joined St. Monica Catholic Church and became a member of the Knights of Columbus,” said Wheeler, of Edmond. “ I volunteered at the food bank and became aware of the high number of hungry people, especially the children of Oklahoma.

“I have also volunteered at Ida Freeman school in Edmond for the last 11 years. I do this because there are so many children in single-parent homes that need a positive male role model in their lives.”

Wheeler, born and raised in Elk City, volunteers at Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma on Saturdays.

“I feel like I contribute by helping the poor and needy and the Gospels tell us to do this,” Wheeler said.

He takes time to give of his time at Ida Freeman once a week.

And, Wheeler said: “I encouraged the Knights of Columbus Council at St. Monica’s to volunteer at the Food Bank, so since 2010 the Knights as a group have volunteered at the Food Bank the second Thursday of every month from 6 to 9 p.m.”

How important is that gift of time to churches, schools, nonprofits or others in a community?

Wheeler is an example of the value of the gift of time.

“Volunteers like Ralph are one the Regional Food Bank’s most valuable assets,” said Rodney Bivens, executive director of the Regional Food Bank. “More than 33 percent of the food that goes to feed the hungry in our state is handled by our volunteers — that’s a significant number. We simply couldn’t do the work that we do without our volunteers.”

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by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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