News & Stories
Retired Noblesville Engineer Becomes Full-Time Volunteer
CICOA honors Lamar Ziegler as 2019 Senior Volunteer of the Year
After people retire, they often spend their time golfing, traveling or working on a hobby. Not Lamar Ziegler. The 70-year-old from Noblesville often can be found repairing a roof or installing a grab bar, fixing loose deck boards or repairing a leaking faucet. When Lamar retired from civil engineering in 2015, he became a full-time volunteer working more than six days a week helping low-income and elderly homeowners in Hamilton County.
Lamar doesn’t volunteer for praise or awards; however, the work he’s doing and the difference he’s making in the lives of seniors has not gone unnoticed. CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions named Lamar its 2019 Senior Volunteer of the Year.
Each year CICOA selects one central Indiana volunteer who is 65 or older and is giving back in the community. Nancy Schell, director of operations at the Shepherd’s Center in Hamilton County, nominated Ziegler.
“Lamar is compassionate, dependable and responsive,” she said. “His skills bring our seniors much relief, and everybody loves him.”
Called to lend a helping hand
In addition to volunteering at Shepherd’s Center of Hamilton County, he also volunteers for all kinds of organizations throughout Hamilton County, including Habitat for Humanity, HAND and SERVE Noblesville, where he’s a board member. He’s vice president of Christmas in Action of Hamilton County and has led a home repair mission to Henderson Settlement in Kentucky. The dedicated volunteer has led mission trips to Liberia, West Africa and worked on teams to help with rebuilding efforts in South Carolina after Hurricane Andrew and in Joplin, Mo., after tornadoes. He’s been to Oklahoma City three times working on housing for recovering addicts.
When he’s not doing home repairs, you might find him volunteering at Conner Prairie or selling corn at the Indiana State Fair for the Lions Club of Washington Township in Indianapolis.
He learned the importance of volunteering growing up on a farm in Huntington County surrounded by extended family. If anyone needed help, someone always pitched in, he said.
Lamar began volunteering 40 years ago with Emmanuel United Methodist Church in Noblesville, when he started making simple home repairs for church members in need. That grew to missionary trips across the U.S. and around the world. He has built homes in Brazil, Ecuador, Liberia, Mexico, Bolivia and the Dominican Republic.
“Other people’s needs are always more important and greater than mine,” he said. “Their smiles are priceless.”
Using his unique skills in the community
That’s what keeps him going as many as seven days a week. He often works with a couple of other volunteers or leads an entire crew. The only thing he won’t tackle are roofs on two-story houses and anything involving natural gas.
“My unique niche is I have access to lots of materials for free, so I do all the project coordination, make sure tools are there, batteries are charged, there are enough screws and driver bits to fasten what we fasten and do the clean up after,” he said. “I’m the only guy I know in Hamilton County who’s doing that.”
Because of that, he’s always looking for more volunteers to pitch in.
“CICOA is honored to recognize Lamar for all that he’s doing to help seniors throughout Hamilton County,” said CICOA’s interim CEO Mary Durell. “Lamar is a tireless volunteer who gives so much of himself to make someone else’s life and living conditions better.”
(Pictured left to right: Volunteer Coordinator Tara DeBoo, Lamar Ziegler, Kay Ziegler, Interim CEO Mary Durell)
Are you handy with a hammer?
CICOA is always looking for volunteers to help seniors with small home repairs and safety home modification projects.