For Betty and Don Felten, volunteering is part of life
Betty and Don Felten
Community: Sugar Creek
Family: Three daughters and sons-in-law—Pam and Gary Oliveren, Peggy and Neil Watson, Paula and Paul Helfrecht; six grandsons.
Hobbies: For many years, the Feltens were square dancers. They also have lifetime passes to the Walworth County Fair. They enjoy antiquing, genealogy, crosswords and Sudoku. For many years, they made the trip to state basketball tournaments.
ELKHORN Betty and Don Felten are the kind of people who have done more in the past five minutes than most of us have done in our whole lives.
Don has helped hundreds of 4-H kids with their woodworking and electrical projects.
Betty has served on the boards of a variety of organizations and was a charter member of AARP's Walworth County Chapter 5310.
Don volunteers at the Elkhorn Food Pantry, and Betty is its president.
The list could go on and on, spilling off this page and onto another.
Why do they do it?
Their reasons aren't complicated: They like people, and they understand the simple pleasure of a job well done.
Here's Don talking about his work at the food pantry: "You meet a lot of nice people."
He didn't mean just the people who drop off food; he also meant the other volunteers and the people who use the service.
"Some people who come to get food will volunteer to help unload trucks," Don said.
The Feltens' three daughters were in 4-H, and that's how Don got started in the organization.
"Back then, the kids would come right to our house in Elkhorn," Don said.
He enjoyed the work, and he later became a lifetime member of the Walworth County Fair and rarely misses a day at the fair during fair week.
Don's skills come from a life spent in engineering and electronics. He worked as an electrician's helper and a production engineer and held a variety of other posts before becoming self-employed.
While self-employed, he was able to help others by providing low-cost—or free—services to "little old ladies" and other people who otherwise might have paid too much or been taken advantage of.
Betty's professional life also transitioned nicely into her retirement and volunteer life.
Betty worked as a nurse or in health care for most of her life. She was a nurse's aide, nurse, patient care coordinator and supervisor. She was director of nursing at Lakeland Hospital in Elkhorn.
"I like helping people. That's my No. 1 reason," Betty said. "There's a certain satisfaction in a well-run pantry organization."
She especially enjoyed working in the guardianship program. The program, which runs through the courts, links qualified people with seniors, people with disabilities or others who might need objective third parties to look after their interests.
Last year, the Feltens were recognized as "Outstanding Senior Citizens" at the Walworth County Fair.
Both are modest about their contributions.
"We just like helping people," Betty said.