Volunteer of the Week: Mike Fitzgerald

Mike Fitzgerald of Loma Rica is busy volunteering in the community, including running the Frank C. Reilly Museum in La Porte, as a member of the Foothill Lions Club and putting together the foothill community's one-block Fourth of July Parade for the past six years.

Name: Mike Fitzgerald.

Age: 66.

Family: Wife, Cynthia.

Residence: Loma Rica.

Occupation: Retired mail carrier and current real estate broker.

How long have you lived in the Yuba-Sutter area? All my life.

Hobbies, interests: Taking care of our place, playing golf when I get a chance, watching sports.

For what groups do you volunteer? I run the Frank C. Reilly Museum in LaPorte. It's open weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

I'm the museum's third curator — I was just going to watch over the museum for a little while, then it became a labor of love.

The museum was built around 1983 by E Clampus Vitus. I am a Clamper and my family is a pioneer family in the area — the Marvin family came from Wales in 1863.

Last year, we had the seventh First annual Heinz 57 Variety Dog Show — we try to make up categories until everybody wins. And six years ago, I restarted the one-block Fourth of July Parade that has about 300 people in the parade and about the same number watching it.

Both events are on the same day, usually on a Saturday near the Fourth of July — the dog show is at noon, the parade at 2 p.m. and ice cream is served afterward.

I am also bar manager at the Foothill Lions Club — I started as a member of the club 11 years ago, then when I got in and saw the things they do for the community I started getting involved.

I have helped with the Yuba-Sutter Veterans Day Parade for six years after somebody asked me to drive a car in the event. Seeing the people at the parade and their smiles make it all worthwhile.

I served in the Marine Corps and am a member of the American Legion and the Disabled American Veterans — for about the past six years I've helped at the American Legion's July picnic at the Veterans Home in Yountville.

I started volunteering after I retired. When you're young you don't realize, that the gift is in the giving.

How do you fit volunteering into your schedule? I have a lot of help from a lot of people. Whatever recognition I get now I wouldn't be getting it without them.

Words of advice: Find something that you really like and believe in, then it's really easy. And you have to realize how much time you have and judge that.

Quote: "If you volunteer just for the recognition, you're doing it for the wrong reason. But when you do a lot and you are recognized for it, it's nice."

Volunteer of the Week runs weekly. To submit the name of a volunteer to be featured, contact Community Editor Leticia Gutierrez at 749-6552.

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