Relentless rain, puddles of mud and cool temperatures couldn’t keep WCC volunteer Paul Kolze (pictured on the right) from making sure all the Veterans, puppy parents, volunteers and staff had full bellies at WCC’s annual eye exam day last month.
Paul takes great joy in cooking for others and has been roasting pigs for different occasions for almost two decades. Knowing a few hundred people would show up for eye exam day, he proposed a pig roast to help feed the masses. He says it’s always a process of trial and error and that the 96-pounder he cooked up for eye exam day was no different.
“We dug a pit, and, with the rain, it flooded, so we came out to reconstruct it at 11 last night and move it over to higher ground, so that was a first,” said Paul. “Every time you change something, you have to think through the whole process, and you learn something new, which makes it a challenge, but it’s really a lot of fun. I really enjoy doing it, people really like it and seem to appreciate it.”
That “fun” included a tent for refuge; Paul, some other volunteers and WCC staff members all took shifts throughout the entire night tending to the fire, to ensure the rain didn’t put a damper on the flames. Fourteen hours later, more than 40 pounds of roasted pork were dished out to hungry eye exam attendees.
“Paul is just a wonderful person who loves our organization and mission,” said Sarah Olson, WCC volunteer coordinator. “He is always willing to give whatever he can, whenever he can — and he always does it with a smile.”
Paul’s not just known around WCC for his cooking, he and his wife, Susan, have been great friends and supporters of WCC for several years. They began volunteering with WCC as puppy parents. Susan, who retired a few years back, learned about WCC while she was at a store and met another puppy parent who had a service dog in training with her. First came Ashley. Then Moon. And now, Paul and Susan are puppy parents to one-year-old, service dog in training J.J.
“Being a puppy parent is a good challenge,” said Paul. “I think when they’re puppies, they’re like having another child. It’s also introduced me to a lot of friends I wouldn’t have otherwise. This family at WCC is just incredible — all the volunteers, the staff, we all just have a good time.”
Paul says all the hard work and fun times pale in comparison to the ultimate goal of the program.
“It’s incredible just seeing how the dogs can impact lives at the graduation ceremony,” said Paul. “The change they can bring to a Veteran’s life is just incredible — not just the Veterans but also their families, it’s amazing.”
Thank you, Paul, for your incredible service and support to WCC!