Giving Volunteer of the Week: Don Kirkendall
Giving Volunteer of the Week
Don Kirkendall, 75, of Niles
• 30-year volunteer at Niles Haunted House Scream Park and president of the board the past eight years
• 12-year volunteer at the Greater Niles Senior Center, accumulating more than 1,200 hours delivering commodities and driving the elderly to medical appointments the past two years
• Volunteer for American Red Cross Services of Southwestern Michigan and was donor of the year in 2011 while getting his 23-gallon pin
• 2013 Volunteer Southwest Michigan Star Volunteer
Q: Why do you volunteer?
A: I like to see people out having fun. My mother (the late Lela Kirkendall) was always really friendly with people and she got to me too.
I like to see people that are hurting for money and stuff to get taken care of somehow.
I just go out at the senior center and all over and help as much as I can because I know I can do something that they can’t do.
Q: What inspires you to volunteer?
A: Besides my mom, these guys at the Haunted House. Back in ’83 when I started, my son was in school and they were raising money for band so I went out there and started working there.
They took me in and I watched them work and they just inspired me because they were so good to the volunteers and were so good to me. So I just kept on with them and I couldn’t get away.
Q: What’s the secret to scaring people at the Niles Haunted House?
A: I am in the dark, in my corridor, that I’ve worked in ever since I’ve been there. They can’t see me, but they know I’m there.
I talk to them and really startle them. I’m not a scary man, I just startle people.
When they turn around I stand right behind them and I growl at them. I put some pretty big guys down. That’s my thing. I couldn’t do it out in the open because I’m a different guy out in the open.
Give me a dark corridor and I can do really good.