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  • Partners in Care volunteers John Scheleur and Ed Malarkey received their Volunteer of the Month certificates from Voice Inside Sales Support Chris Lowman.
    Partners in Care volunteers John Scheleur and Ed Malarkey received their Volunteer of the Month certificates from Voice Inside Sales Support Chris Lowman.

Ed Malarkey And John Scheleur Repair With Care

Gracie Fairfax
Gracie Fairfax's picture
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September 7, 2017

When Partners in Care went through a transition with grants in 2009 and could no longer pay a full-time Repairs with Care coordinator, Ed Malarkey and John Scheleur both stepped up to the plate. Malarkey had been a driver for Partners in Care and was looking to do something in addition to driving, and Scheleur had heard about the need. For nine years, both have served as Repairs with Care co-coordinators as they put in about 20 hours per week doing handyman work for seniors who are no longer able to do the work themselves while also managing volunteers who do the same.

“We’ve been volunteering in an unpaid position. No raises. We haven’t gotten our pay cut either,” Scheleur said.

“Vacation’s the same,” Ed joked back.

Malarkey and Scheleur have a total list of 130 people who are registered Repairs with Care volunteers while about two dozen of those people regularly respond to needs.

“We have one woman who likes to do electrical work and she’ll tear into replacing switches and receptacles for people,” Malarkey said. “She’s a retired nurse.”

Many of the people they help are widows whose husbands have passed away and widowers who are no longer physically able to do the work themselves.

“One guy got a note from the [homeowner’s association] that his yard wasn’t being kept up, but he couldn’t physically do it himself,” Scheleur said. “So we went in and trimmed all the bushes for him and power-washed his place and made it look a lot better.”

An 80-year-old woman couldn’t close or lock her front door so the Repairs with Care team went out and fixed it.

Typically, if the person seeking help pays for the materials, Repairs with Care will provide free labor, but in cases where the person is unable to fund the materials, local businesses such as Home Depot in Timonium, Lowe’s and Clement’s Hardware have chipped in.

Partners in Care prides itself on its time-exchange model where people can donate time volunteering in one area in exchange for help in another area.

“It’s not all one way. You’re supposed to help out, and then in return, we’ll help you,” Scheleur said. “Everybody’s going to need help somewhere along the line as you get older.”

For those unable to donate their own time, the team is still willing to care for them. In fact, the two volunteers can’t remember anytime Partners in Care has turned someone down who asked for help.

Along the way, Malarkey and Scheleur have gathered some favorite memories. Malarkey remembers one occasion when a woman called needing a ramp but couldn’t afford it. Later on the same day, they received a call from a woman whose husband had died and needed a ramp taken down. A group of volunteers from Repairs with Care got together to tear the old ramp apart for one woman and put up a ramp for the other woman the same day using much of the same material.

Scheleur remembers a time when he went to do some work for a woman in Annapolis and learned that her husband had been his history teacher at St. Mary’s High School. When the woman asked how she could thank him, Scheleur replied, “You don’t have to thank me at all. Your husband gave me an A in history.”

Both Malarkey and Scheleur consider it a joy, not a job, to be able to volunteer with Partners in Care — and as an added bonus, the new CEO gives out candy.

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