FRED SPRIGGS of Westminster takes books and other reading materials to the Golden Age Guest Home in Sykesville and the Golden Crest Geriatric Care Center in Westminster. He visits each facility every two weeks to pick up and deliver books and talk to the patients.
He is one of about 20 volunteers with the Library Link Book Service, a program of the Carroll County Public Library to bring books and magazines to people in nursing homes and adult care facilities.
The program, which has operated for 22 years, circulates some 400 to 500 books a month to people in seven nursing homes and two care facilities in the county, said Loretta Murphy, head of institutional services for the Carroll County Public Library.
5l Organization's comments: "He's just a sweetheart," said Emily Ferren, coordinator of extension services for the Carroll County Public Library. "He has a very calm, reassuring demeanor that is wonderful with the patients."
Mr. Spriggs is the only male volunteer in the program, she said. The male patients seem to identify with him especially well, she said, and he will take the time to chat with them or play a game of checkers.
Library Link is always looking for volunteers, Ms. Ferren said. For more information on volunteer opportunities, call Emily Ferren or Loretta Murphy at 857-5059.
Volunteer's comments: "I get a lift out of these people," Mr. Spriggs said. He said his work has helped him learn "to appreciate the elderly and what people have gone through in their lives."
Too often, he said, our society tends to undervalue the elderly.
"You've got to remember, they're people, too," he said. "You don't write people off just because they're old."
Some of the people he visits appreciate having company as much as they do the reading material, he said. "To know that somebody cares for them is a big thing for them."
Mr. Spriggs, 67, became a volunteer after he retired, after a relative, Eleanor Fique, who founded Library Link, suggested he join in.
Volunteer's background: Mr. Spriggs, a retired optician, worked for Bausch & Lomb for more than 30 years.
He is a train buff and an active member of the Western Maryland Railway Historical Society.
E9 Mr. Spriggs and his wife, Faith, have three children.
To nominate someone as Volunteer of the Week, call 751-7900 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Nominations may
be faxed to the office at 751-7916.