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The power to change

When asked why he decided to volunteer he replied, "I have the time; in the past you don't always have time. This hospital really pushes services. This job that I do here I am not aware of at other hospitals. How many times do you sit in a hospital and don't know who to call or what to do. Here there is a face, someone to help."

George Cook is amazing by any standard.

At age 60, George Cook is one of the few Amerasians in Vermont. However, instead of isolating himself within his own community he has chosen to dedicate himself to helping others. Perhaps it is his Asian approach to life combined with western esthetics that gives him the perspective to see all work as a way of changing the world.

George spent his career working for the Vermont Department of Corrections.

While many people might not see the corrections department as a vocation, it certainly was one for George because he believes that any positive changes in a person's life makes a difference. After retiring he decided that he wanted to continue giving to his community. So George Cook did what he always does, something completely unusual. He decided to join the AmeriCorps program.

Currently, he is an AmeriCorps Volunteer for Neighbor Works of Western Vermont. In that job he works as a Intake/Outreach Specialist helping people find funds for their daily living expenses.

When asked why he didn't just enjoy his retirement George smiled and said, "I do everything backwards so now I am volunteering."

Whether it is working as an AmeriCorps volunteer or refereeing college sports George has a spirit of community that is unbreakable.

Elise Beane didn't start out with the idea of volunteering, in fact, quite the opposite. As a full time working mother and wife she dreamed of a time when she could follow her heart and travel the world. Elise spent her career working with the developmentally disabled for the State of Vermont. It was a job that she found both rewarding and challenging. However, between the needs of her four children and a husband often out to sea with the navy, she had little time for to think about retirement.

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