Veteran upgrades skills in federal program, launches 'Pets Meals on Wheels' program in Owensboro
An Army veteran who upgraded his work skills through a federal program now has a permanent job managing a new 'Pets Meals on Wheels' effort serving the Owensboro region.
The 59-year-old veteran is a success story from the Senior Community Service Employment Program, or SCSEP.
“Did you want to fill that out now, Miss Hansen?," David Glover asked Hilda Hansen, who came in to volunteer to help who people who need assistance caring for their pets.
At his desk in the Owensboro-Daviess County Senior Center, David Glover handed a pen to Hansen so she could fill out a volunteer form.
Glover said many seniors who get Meals on Wheels have mobility issues. And research has found that because of their tight budgets, some seniors give part of their "people food” to their pets.
Glover said this partnership between Meals on Wheels and PetSmart addresses those issues.
Hansen has a rescue dog named Lady, and she knows people keep their pets because they love them, even if it’s difficult. So, Hansen said she’s volunteering to walk dogs or just give a pet some extra attention.
“If you are a Meals on Wheels recipient and you have a pet, either a cat, dog, bird or fish, then we will provide food and supplies for your pet for the month.”David Glover
“I came here and look forward to help someone who loves their animals and cannot do what you normally do, and trust me, you will be happy, you know, and I’m happy that I can help you,” said Hansen.
Glover turned to his computer to review the list of participants to find a volunteer spot for Hansen.
“She is absolutely in at the right time because I have the perfect fit for her. She’s going to get a ‘fou-fou’ dog that is my favorite dog in the program, so far," said Glover. "I call them ‘fou-fou’ dogs. Sweetest little dog that I’ve met so far as I’m going out to meet the recipients. So it’ll be a good match for her.”
Glover upgraded his computer skills during three years of SCSEP training that led him to land this job.
SCSEP began in 1965 under the Older Americans Act to provide job training for low-
income, unemployed seniors age 55 and older. Preference is given to veterans, people with disabilities, those who live in rural areas, or are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Glover earned Kentucky’s minimum wage of $7.25 an hour during training at the Owensboro-Daviess County Senior Center, a Goodwill store, as an assistant in the SCSEP program, at a regional career center and at the RiverPark Center.
Senior Center Program Manager Tiffanye Coursey said Glover’s ease with people, his ability to learn new skills, take on responsibilities, and his work ethic, led her to hire him for his current permanent part-time job.
“He started out here as a receptionist, just helping us answer phones, greeting people as they came in," said Coursey. "We’ve seen the way he talked to our clients, they kind of took to him. He was very personable with them. So, we knew that he would be a good fit.”
Making those “good fits” happen is Kentucky SCSEP Employment Specialist Alyssa Warner, who covers Daviess, Henderson, Hopkins and McLean counties.
She said more older adults have started in the program as the pandemic has eased.
“Right now, I have 20 participants in the program," said Warner. "I’ve had eight enrollments since January. I have 13 women and seven men.”
David Glover’s military service gave him preference to participate in SCSEP.
“I was in the Army in the 1970s," said Glover. "I was stationed at our home fort, Fort Campbell, Kentucky and in Oklahoma, and in Nuremberg, Germany and in Monterey, California.”
Warner said she’s seeing increasing interest from eligible training partners, which must be a nonprofit or government agency.
“I have about eight or nine active agencies right now that we partner with, and I have about 12 potential agencies that I am meeting who have showed interest in the program,” said Warner.
Those agencies may join the list of sites that become “a good fit” to train, and possibly hire, older workers.
And sometimes a SCSEP graduate, like David Glover, might just find a “good fit” for a local volunteer and a little “fou-fou” dog.