Ted Rock considers volunteering something of a
full-time job. Clocking in more than 75 hours a month, he spends
his time driving trucks and loading food for the Greater Chicago
Food Depository, teaching kids about bees at Garfield Park
Conservatory, helping with the Christmas tree ship that delivers
trees to Chicago kids and coordinating the many activities of the
junior naval ROTC in the city.
Rock spent 31 years in the Navy, joining up at the tender
age of 17. He retired 31 years later. He now coordinates the
training local Naval ROTC students conduct on the Navy League's
ship in DuSable Harbor. "It's a full-fledged naval training vessel
and it's completely run by volunteers," he says. Through the Navy
League, he became involved with the Christmas Ship, where he has
volunteered for the past 10 years.
At the Greater Chicago Food Depository, where he
volunteers most of his time, Rock and his wife Valerie, who also
volunteers, repack food and drive produce trucks to deliver fresh
food to local pantries. "It's a great organization and they do a
lot of good in Chicago. There's a lot of hunger and poverty here
and they try to fill that gap," he says.
Rock and Valerie have five children between them and eight
grandchildren. It was only natural that their volunteer work
revolves around helping children.
"I don't know that we sat down and said, 'Let's volunteer
with stuff with kids' but it's who we are," Rock says. "We're both
retired and volunteering is probably our occupation."
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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