His hobby of helping provides nothing but pleasure

Volunteers/Where good neighbors get together

May 21, 1991|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,Evening Sun Staff

THERE ARE those who step forward every time to offer a helping hand no matter how busy they may be.

Herbert N. VonWachter is one. This sociable communicator lights up like a 250-watt bulb when he speaks of others, their needs and the pleasure he gets out of giving.

''I'm the winner there. I get more happiness out of volunteering than anything else. It is my hobby,'' he says.

He serves breakfast to the homeless, coaches basketball and softball and is a hugger for the Special Olympics. He also gives time to the projects of the Corporate Volunteer Council, a coalition of businesses and organizations working with non-profit agencies, of which his company is a member.

VonWachter is general superintendent of car management with CSX Transportation, a part of CSX Corp. More than 100 employees of the corporation are volunteers to the community.

For 30 years plus, VonWachter has been with the corporation, and he says he began as a messenger with the B&O Railroad. ''I may be one of few people around here who was once promoted to mail boy,'' he laughs.

Raised in Baltimore on the corner of Monroe and Saratoga streets, he moved to Edmonson Village for a while then to Arbutus. He has two children, 25-year-old Lynn and son Scotty, 19 and a student at Catonsville Community College. When Lynn was younger he began coaching basketball and softball at the Arbutus Recreation Council, and although she has grown up, married and moved away, VonWachter continues to coach for three hours Saturdays and Sundays and for two hours two nights a week. ''We are the Arbutus Gold, a traveling basketball team for ages 13, and we go all over the state competing,'' he says with pride.

Once a month for two years, VonWachter and other employees of CSX have served early-morning breakfast to the homeless at the First and Franklin Street Presbyterian Church on Madison Street. ''Every day, volunteers from some corporation give a hand at the church,'' he says.

And, for four years VonWachter has been a hugger (they refer to it as Volunteer Fan now) for the Special Olympics. ''That one day each year at Towson State has to be a day apart from the others,'' he says.

''You know, I favor the children, those little ones whose feet won't touch the floor when they sit on a seat. They are everything nice, honest, sincere and happy. The hours I have spent coaching and hugging I have to say are very special.''

Summing up the reason he is always volunteering, VonWachter explains with humor. ''I guess it began when I was age 17 and joined the Marine Corps and went to Korea. Every time someone would stand up and ask 'Is there a guy here who will do this or that?' someone had to say yes, so I did.''

In his years of volunteering, he says, he has discovered that the truly busy people are the ones who have time to volunteer. ''Others sit around, talk about it, but never do,'' he says.

Volunteers are needed at the First and Franklin Street Presbyterian Church, 210 Madison St. at Park Avenue, where breakfast is served to the homeless seven days a week. Volunteers should call the Rev. Gloria Albrecht at 728-5545.

The Special Olympics will be held June 14 and 15 this year at Towson State University. Volunteer Fans are needed as are helpers in other areas of the two-day event. To volunteer call, Randy Garfield, 931-4109.

Anyone interested in volunteering to or joining the Corporate Volunteer Council of Central Maryland should call its president, Pat Kirk, with C&P Telephone, 393-4838.

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