Served His Country, Now Serving His Community - Charlie Smith, Volunteer
Each year, we set aside time in April in celebrate and honor our CVPH Volunteers. More than 200 hardworking and caring individuals contribute over 25,000 hours of service annually here. Their contributions of time, energy and expertise make our organization better, enhance our patients experience and help our people. They support our mission to work together to improve people’s lives. Please join us during National Volunteer Week in thanking our friends and colleagues for all they do.
Charlie Smith knows all about service to one’s country and community. The 95 year old spends 3 hours a week serving lunch to patients in the Infusion Center which is part of our FitzPatrick Cancer Center. He’s been a CVPH Volunteer for nearly 11 years. “I love to do it,” he said. Charlie’s become well known to the patients and staff at the Infusion Center. “I think they are always glad to see me.”
What some may not know is that the man offering them lunch is a distinguished World War II veteran who has been called one of the “original mountaineers,” responsible for establishing the high standards of the US Army’s 10th Mountain Division based out of Fort Drum. The 10th Mountain Division was formed in 1943 during WWII as an elite winter-warfare Army unit and today has the distinction of being the most deployed military unit when a humanitarian, natural disaster, or conflict arises in the world.
The quiet, pleasant man who travels from Rouses Point each week to serve soup and salad was part of the corps of men who established this country’s definition of “mountain tough.”
A native of Keene Valley, he returned to that Adirondack community after leaving the Army and took a job at a hardware store. Later, he worked for a local contracting company and after 20 years, took a job at the Plattsburgh Air Force Base. He and his wife, now deceased, raised 3 children. Charlie remains active in local veteran’s affairs was fortunate to be able to take part in an Honor Flight.
Like most volunteers, Charlie says he gets as much as he gives from the experience. “It’s much better for me to be doing something and I look forward to this every week,” he said.