By Cheryl Magness
Lutheran Federal Credit Union (LutheranFCU) recently announced the inaugural winners of its new Volunteer Leadership Award “to recognize and thank remarkable volunteer leaders.”
LutheranFCU CEO Rev. Ken Krueger said, “We received many wonderful applications and are humbled by the overwhelming response. We also are thankful for the volunteer spirit that these nominations reflect. After thoughtful consideration, our awards committee made the extremely difficult decision of choosing two very well deserving volunteers.”
The first of those volunteers, Clyde Buchanan, is a resident at Concordia Life Care Community, a Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) Recognized Service Organization in Oklahoma City. While living at Concordia, Buchanan has helped establish a number of new programs to support and encourage his fellow residents.
Megan Carter, Concordia’s director of Independent Living Lifestyles, nominated Buchanan, describing him as “one of the most active and engaged older adults that I have ever had the privilege of being around. He is a community leader, volunteer and storyteller all rolled up into one fantastic human being … [and] at age 82, he is still going strong.”
Buchanan’s contributions to Concordia include:
- Initiating Concordia’s Music and Memory program for residents with dementia and assisting other communities who want to develop a similar program.
- Organizing and presenting musical concerts for residents in Memory Care as well as for other Concordia residents and staff.
- Leading exercise classes at Concordia.
- Volunteering as a host in Concordia’s Independent Living dining room.
- Serving as president of Concordia’s Resident Council.
- Volunteering to help with residents’ maintenance and IT needs.
- Assisting with orientation and education of new Concordia staff.
Buchanan’s service also takes him well beyond Concordia’s campus, as he visits residents in the hospital, participates in Special Olympics, delivers mobile meals and volunteers at his church. In the words of Carter, Buchanan has made not only Concordia, but the entire community, “a better place. He impacts those he serves, and he inspires those who know him. Clyde is a true gift to Concordia and all who are fortunate to cross his path.”
Buchanan says volunteering is a natural choice for him. “When I retired, I had no desire to just sit and vegetate, but I didn’t have to look for things to do, as God began to open door after door. … When something needs attention, you have a choice: either do it or walk away. Walking away was never an option for me.”
Buchanan’s favorite volunteer activity is providing music for people in Memory Care. “We have residents that can’t say their name, but they can sing whole verses of an old song. To see the smiles as they sing is a joy to behold.”
Buchanan was “shocked” to receive the award. “I didn’t even know there was such an award, let alone … that I had been nominated. It was truly an honor. My wife said that was one of very few times that I was speechless.”
He says his faith is what motivates him. “Christ was our example. As Christians, we’re told to help others, whether we give of our goods or give of our time. … It’s what we are told to do, and we all reap the rewards.”
The second recipient of this year’s award is Marva Eckman, a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Perry, Ga. Eckman’s pastor at Christ, the Rev. John C. Lehenbauer, nominated Eckman for her service as director of Thee Lord’s Table, a free, weekly, community sit-down lunch hosted by the church and served every Friday in Perry.
There is no cost for the meal, which is open to anyone and served restaurant-style, with volunteers filling the role of wait staff. The meal opens with prayer, includes a pastor-led devotion and averages 70–100 attendees each week. Eckman has organized it for over 10 years.
Lehenbauer says that in addition to providing leadership for Thee Lord’s Table, Eckman cares at home for her husband Jim, who suffered a major stroke 11 years ago, plays organ monthly for the church, and also operates a food bank out of her home.
Lehenbauer adds, “Marva sets a wonderful example as to one way that Christians can enjoy a fulfilling retirement by continuing to serve and share Christ as He gives the opportunity.”
In an email to Reporter, Eckman credited Deaconess Kim Schave for starting the program when Schave’s husband, the Rev. Dr. Steven Schave, was pastor at Christ.
Eckman expressed thanks to “LutheranFCU for selecting me for one of the 2018 Volunteer Leadership Awards; my pastor, John Lehenbauer, for submitting my name, always encouraging me and reminding me that the Lord will provide; all of our numerous, faithful volunteers for making it happen each week; and first and foremost, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for without Him by my side, I could do nothing!”
To find out more about LutheranFCU, its mission and the services it offers, visit lutheranfcu.org.
Posted Jan. 16, 2019