Volunteer Spotlight: Mario Duron
Mario Duron is the consummate ministry volunteer. He loves visiting with the residents of the Arbor Glen Program.
Mario, along with others from his church, visits the program biweekly on Monday nights to lead worship, share a word of encouragement from the Bible, and join in fellowship with the people in the home. Mario attends Calvary Church on the East Beltline and has been serving Hope Network residents for more than 10 years. Pastoral Services recently recognized his ministry contribution by presenting him with a “10 Years of Service” appreciation plaque.
Mario is a father of four and grandfather of nine grandchildren. You wouldn’t guess his age by looking at him, as he barely looks a day past 50. With a mischievous twinkle in his eye, he partially covers his mouth with one hand and whispers conspiratorially, “God’s been good to me. After everything I have done to myself, he kept me alive.” Mario is in his 70’s. He is a bundle of energy and infectiously laughs as he busies himself greeting the residents and staff, and unpacking his trusted guitar. Although it is the end of a long work day, Mario has the air of someone who is just getting started; he exudes the energy of someone who spent the whole day anticipating this time with his favorite group of people. The residents are all drawn to him, their eyes laser-focused on his progress around the room as they anxiously wait their turn to shake his hand, pound his fist, or hug him. No one wants to be left out of this healing circle of love, warmth, and kindness.
Asked why he keeps volunteering even after all these years, he responds, “It’s a wonderful experience for me. You’re changing lives!” He pauses for a second, then quickly adjusts his thought process by adding, “No, they are changing my life. They are teaching me so much in my old age. They are reminding me how much God loves and cares for me, and how much he looked after me, even though I did not know it at the time.”
When asked for his favorite Bible verse, Mario says without hesitation, “It’s The Lord’s Prayer. It tells the whole story, that God is in control and I should be thankful instead of being like the Israelites who grumbled and complained. I do this for Him.”
Mario begins to strum his guitar. The Arbor Glen living room instantaneously becomes a sacred space.