On the Road for RC: Spotlight on John Kacmarynski

John cooking brats for the Volunteer Driver Cookout last year.

Three years ago John Kacmarynski, Sturgeon Bay, decided to give his time at least one day a week to the American Red Cross- Lakeland Chapter as a transportation driver. Since John has started driving in Oct. 2007, he has put in 681 hours of driving, 358 of them in 2009.

“When I retired I wanted to do something here in the community,” says John. “The community has been good to us and I wanted to give something back.”Before retiring John was the Vice President of Sales at Marine Travel Lift where he established a good dealer organization across the world.

John will tell you among the best things about driving are the “fine lovely people.” John enjoys the clients he meets but he also appreciates his fellow drivers. He has known or worked with many of the other drivers in Door County for years. “Some of them are driving because I talked them into it,” John says with a chuckle. “It wasn’t too hard to talk them into it though.”

“It’s a good thing to do. There are many people that if it wasn’t for the Red Cross and the facilities we have for handling wheelchairs, people couldn’t get to where they wanted to go,” says John. “There are some people if they had to take a more expensive way they would have to cut back in places they don’t have the where-with-all to cut back from.”

 John normally drives on Tuesdays. He is flexible with his hours and will be there to fill in or trade shifts if needed. Last year he logged even more hours than usual because he picked up another shift when another driver became ill.

Even though there are wonderful people to meet driving for the Red Cross there can also be some bumps on the road. John has been on the side of the road with a broken down van full of people. He has also been lost on country roads before the sun came up. But it all turns out ok and being a driver sometimes means enjoying where the road takes you.

John met his wife, Mary Jeanne, because of an unexpected drive. He was at a friend’s birthday party when they were running out of ice cream. “I volunteered to go get some and so did my future wife.” 4 children and 7 grandchildren later, John is proud of their 47 years. “”We’ve had a good, healthy life and relationship with the kids and had a lot of fun together.”

 John and Mary Jeanne are originally flatlanders from Iowa but they have been in Sturgeon Bay for 29 years and have made it home. The best things about the area are “the variety of things to do and the friendly people.”

 The couple loves snowmobiling. John is also a wonderful craftsman who enjoys working with hard wood. His long list of projects usually includes furniture for the kids. John’s never bored but he also finds time to be there for the Red Cross and the people it serves.

 “It gives you a good feeling in your heart to be able to help people,” says John. In our community there are many big hearts driving the Red Cross but there is always need for more. If you want to find out where the road can take you as a Red Cross volunteer call Jody Weyers at 920-227-4287.

One Response

  1. Way to go Uncle John! We’re proud of you!

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