As a retired businessman and father, Pete Weiner is used to being busy!
I used to own my own business. I was raising kids, and didn’t have time to read the newspaper, let alone volunteer!
Pete started volunteering 17 years ago after he became semi-retired, and has been with BloodworksNW for three years.
Pete’s main position is as a volunteer courier, transporting everything from blood and office supplies between our Central Seattle donor center and Renton testing facility, with a few stops in between. Because he and his partner, Sharon, travel frequently, he picks up four-hour shifts as needed rather than having a designated schedule, typically, doing one or two a week.
Occasionally, he will also do a ferry run, transporting blood collected at a drive in Kitsap, Poulsbo, or Vashon Island to Renton.
After officially retiring in November, Pete added another role to his plate: he volunteers as an ESL tutor for visiting scientists at Bloodworks Research Institute. Many of our remarkable researchers come from other countries and want to feel more comfortable speaking English, so he meets with them weekly and gives them writing assignments.
It’s a win-win for both parties:
I find it interesting hearing about some of the different projects – I have a background in biology. I’ve attended some of their lab meetings and can sort of follow it.
The Burien resident likes that his courier position keeps him active and makes a difference in our community.
Just getting [to my shift] I will walk 3-4 miles! I walk to the bus, walk downtown, walk up to Central, and probably get walking in between. It keeps me out and active, not looking at a computer. I feel like I’m maybe helping somebody I don’t know.
Pete isn’t entirely sure how he became involved with Bloodworks, but his charm, friendliness, and good nature have been an asset to our organization, says Volunteer Coordinator Colette Glenn. Pete says,
I was looking for some organizations that I have a passing interest in. As one of my semi-retirement jobs, I worked as an EMT. I loved working with healthcare system – I took a year of hematology in college.
When he’s not volunteering, Pete enjoys bike tours in the Pacific Northwest with Sharon and travelling the world – the couple went to New Zealand in February and March. He’s currently volunteering with the Bureau of Land Management at a campground in Utah as a land ranger assistant – it’s his fifth year of doing this – and is looking forward to getting back to his BloodworksNW volunteer shifts in a month.
It’s a way to stay active, learn new information, and get involved in other experiences. I started off as biology teacher and would have liked to go into the field of biology, so I found other opportunities to fulfill my field biologist yearnings. It’s a way of doing things that in our other life we didn’t have an opportunity to do.
[BloodworksNW] is one of the organizations that seems to really foster and support volunteers!