“There are many skills that are useful, volunteer to do something you like.” -Dean Wheeler
Dean has been volunteering with CommuniCare for more than 15 years! When Dean’s wife mentioned an article that she had read in the local newspaper about the need for Spanish interpreters at the Peterson Clinic (CommuniCare’s Woodland location prior to 2014), he applied and has been volunteering as an interpreter for CommuniCare patients ever since. His desire to be helpful, along with the friendliness of the staff and patients, has motivated him to continue volunteering year after year.
When Peterson Clinic re-opened in its new location as Hansen Family Health Center, Dean began interpreting for Dr. Frances Southwick, CommuniCare’s Doctor of Osteopathy (DO). Dr. Southwick quickly became a fan of the support that Dean offered her, and she asked him to join her at Davis Community Clinic last year when she moved clinic sites. Dean volunteers on Tuesdays and Thursdays, every week.
Dean’s agricultural degree from UC Davis led to a career with Del Monte and that gave him the opportunity to live in many places around the world. Del Monte sent Dean and his family to Hawaii where he learned the intricacies of pineapple plantations. He then took that experience to build pineapple plantations for Del Monte in Kenya, the Philippines, and Costa Rica (where he learned to speak fluent Spanish) before moving back to the U.S.
When asked why he volunteers, Dean will tell you, “There are many skills that are useful, volunteer to do something you like. And if you have time, do it!” Retired but not tired, Dean can be found following his own advice, putting his agricultural background to good use while volunteering at the UC Davis Arboretum and volunteering his interpreting skills at the annual World Ag Expo, as well as at CommuniCare.
An extraordinary man, a dedicated volunteer, and a citizen of the world, CommuniCare is honored to have Dean as a long-time part of the volunteer team. Congratulations, Dean, on 15 wonderful years with CommuniCare!
To learn more about volunteering opportunities with CommuniCare click here.