Wheeling senior has you covered


For The Times Leader

Jerry Morris of Wheeling has gone from delivering mail to delivering meals, and now he has received state and national recognition for his voluntarism.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice honored Morris’ dedication to service at the annual Governor’s Service Awards dinner at the Culture Center in Charleston Sept. 14. Morris received an award in the category of lifetime


Morris, now 86, has been taking hot meals from Catholic Charities Neighborhood Center in Wheeling to homebound residents for the past 18 years.

Center officials said he has delivered more than 70,000 meals.

In addition to earning the Governor’s Service Award, Morris was recognized by Charities USA for his volunteer efforts. A photograph of Morris and a short biographical sketch were featured in the spring issue of that organization’s magazine.

“There were hundreds of volunteers nationwide, and I was one of them,” he said, with a touch of amazement in his voice.

When Morris’ wife, Ramona, was seriously ill in 1999, she received meals delivered through Catholic Charities Neighborhood Center. After she died, he looked for a way to fill his time and make a difference in the community. He decided to volunteer to deliver meals because that service had meant so much to his wife.

Morris began volunteering for Catholic Charities’ meal program in 2000. “In the beginning, I did about five days a week,” he said.

In the first year, he delivered 6,500 meals. Now, he delivers meals on Monday and Friday; he also serves as a substitute driver when another route needs to be covered. “When they call me, I say, ‘I’ll be right there,'” he said.

Reflecting on his service at the center, Morris said, “It’s my life now. They are well pleased with what I do.”

Morris, of course, is no stranger to making deliveries. He was a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in Wheeling for 34 years. Morris, who has been a member of the postal workers’ union for 60 years, retired from the post office in 1988.

Catholic Charities officials said the knowledge that Morris accumulated during his career was put to good use in planning meal deliveries. Through his organizational skills, he shortened the routes, saving volunteers time and gasoline.

Representatives of Volunteer West Virginia, the commission that administers the Governor’s Service Awards, said of Morris: “While delivering meals, he takes time to brighten the days of some of the most vulnerable people served. He checks to make sure that the recipients are OK and if they need other assistance. He runs errand for shut-ins and provides a connection to the outside world making them feel less


“Jerry connects with the people he serves, sharing stories and jokes while honoring their dignity. This ability is also shown when he spends time in the Neighborhood Center day room with those who are homeless or impoverished. He can raise morale by singing songs before dinner or sharing his jokes. His attitude of hope is infectious lifting the spirits of those who are served and also those who are providing service.”

Morris said he also runs errands for the Salvation Army, collecting surplus food at a restaurant at The Highlands once a week. He likes to keep busy and enjoys what he does.

In addition to his voluntary service, he belongs to the Cave Club in Center Wheeling and the IOLA Club in South Wheeling. Morris has three daughters, two sons, many grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.


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