A gentleman who’s happy to help
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Bill Prehm never complains when he does the dishes.Even for a dining room full of people.Twice a week, Prehm volunteers in the kitchen at the senior lunches in Glenwood Springs. Linda Shoup, who works in the Senior Programs office at Colorado Mountain College, said washing dishes was Prehm’s idea.”He volunteered … asked, ‘Would you want me to do the dishes?'” she said. “He never complains. He’s always so pleasant. He’s a true gentleman, and we ladies really appreciate it.”As a retiree, Prehm is happy to help out his fellow senior citizens with lunches and mailings. He’s lived all his 83 years in the Roaring Fork Valley, and has worked in Carbondale, Redstone and Glenwood Springs over the last eight decades.”I worked as a rancher where Catherine Store used to be, and I worked for Frank Kistler at the Redstone Lodge and Manor, doing grounds maintenance and building maintenance. I also did maintenance at the famous Hot Springs Pool for 20 years.”Prehm was born at home on his family’s small ranch where Rivers Restaurant now sits.
“Back then, the doctor came to the home,” he recalled.His father was born in Burlington, Iowa, and his mother hailed from Glasgow, Scotland, coming to America with her parents through Ellis Island.”Her parents brought her over when she was a toddler,” he said.Prehm grew up during the Great Depression – a time he remembers well.”People were always needing help … At that time, conditions were slow,” he said. “It was tough on people.” A 1942 graduate of Garfield County High School (now Glenwood Springs High School), Prehm was drafted to serve in World War II. But asthma prevented his participation.”I was drafted in 1943, but didn’t pass the physical,” he said. “They didn’t take me because I had lung problems. That was right in the middle of the war.”
Two of Prehm’s classmates were killed in Europe.”There were two kids I knew,” he said. “It was a sad time.”He married in 1943, and his wife passed away eight years later. Prehm mostly stayed close to home, under doctor’s orders.”I had poor health,” he said. “The doctor told me not to travel and take chances.”Prehm learned to fly a plane – but he mostly stuck to work instead of pursuing hobbies.That could explain why he doesn’t mind washing dishes.”Bill is just so dedicated and always goes above and beyond … And never complains,” said Gwen Stephenson, CMC’s Senior Programs director. “We call him the strong, silent type. He just makes everything better.”
The Senior Program staff – and many of the women at the lunches – enjoy his company and his work ethic.”He’s such a sweetheart, and has such a sweet, sweet heart,” said Cheryl Cain, director of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). “He’s so kind and thoughtful. If I could have a magic wand and make him 30 years younger, I’d marry him.”Prehm gives his female counterparts all the credit.”I don’t do much – all I do is help out in the kitchen,” he said. “The ladies who carry the load are the ones who handle making all the food and who staff the office.”Spoken like a true gentleman.Contact April Clark: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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