Person of the week: Douglas Osgood

Douglas Osgood watering the garden he had put into The Wesley Village Campus
Douglas Osgood watering the garden he had put into The Wesley Village Campus

Douglas Osgood brings a smile to Shelton residents

The Wesley Village Campus welcomed Douglas “Doug” Osgood as a new resident in January 2009 and not long after he registered to be a volunteer. For the past four years, Osgood has contributed more than 650 hours of service to the residents, families, and staff within the senior living communities at Wesley Village.

Each week, on Wednesday mornings, Doug works in the café at the Bishop Wicke Health and Rehabilitation Center. Not only does he assist with serving fresh coffee and muffins, but he also personally greets the staff and residents with friendly conversation.

“I enjoy people and the interactions,“ said Osgood. “It’s something I do comfortably without any pressure. I try to involve as many people as possible because it’s a way to bring people together. I feel very well making the commitments to do and be a part of as much as possible.

Osgood said he would rather volunteer his time than spend it sitting around.

When the director of the Wellness Center is away on vacation, he offers to respond to phone calls, answer questions and be available in her absence. This allows the Wellness Center to stay open to accommodate its residents’ fitness routines.

Doug also gives time and attention to the spiritual needs of fellow residents and on Sundays, as needed, he leads a church service at Bishop Wicke. After many years of working as a Methodist minister, Doug continues to care for the spiritual life of others well into his retirement.

Two years ago Doug approached the director of volunteer services with an idea and action plan to start an organic fellowship garden on campus. His hope was to create a shared garden area that any resident could contribute to, regardless of physical limitations. He researched the project in its entirety, secured donations of flower pots from staff and others, and recruited help from other residents in caring for the garden.

“I’ve made a lot of friends this way,” said Osgood. “Everyone, including our staff, seem to enjoy the garden and what it does and provides for our little community.”

The staff purchased a small greenhouse where Osgood and his garden fellowship team could grow flowers, vegetables and herbs.

Early in the season, he starts planting seeds and getting ready for the spring, during which he pots the seedlings and sets them up for success in the greenhouse. Plants and are then transplanted as needed around the campus and tended to by caregivers, with Doug acting as the primary caregiver. Though he supervises the plants daily, he does not record his volunteer hours for this program. He also takes potted plants and herbs to residents who are unable to leave their apartments so they can enjoy watching them grow.