DeKALB – Ron and Anita Mullen will retire from Voluntary Action Center on Nov. 22 after more than 22 years of service to others through nutrition and transportation programs.
The VAC will host an open house in their honor from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday at the Regale Center, 124½ S. California St. in Sycamore.
“Both Ron and Anita have impacted VAC in so many ways,” Ellen Rogers, VAC executive director, said in a news release. “Ron certainly is the face of our Meals on Wheels program, and has generated tremendous support and goodwill through his action and demeanor these past 24 years. Anita is the force behind our annual campaign, helping to bring in much-needed community donations.”
“We wish them all the best in the future,” Rogers said in the release. “They will be missed by us all.”
Ron Mullen retires after 24 years with the VAC and Anita has given more than 22 years to the organization as well. Ron began his career after retiring from General Telephone Electronics, where he worked for 30 years.
“I was looking for something to do, and started as a volunteer MedVAC driver,” he said in the release. “I enjoyed getting to know the interesting people and hearing the interesting stories. Before long, though, I decided I needed a real job.”
Ron started working for VAC part time in the kitchen and soon was offered full-time employment. He fondly remembers working with the children who would come to the summer food programs at Hopkins Park, and working alongside the many friends he made throughout the years at VAC.
Now many years later, Ron retires as the director of Volunteer Services, working with the Meals on Wheels program specifically, and handling 1,500 to 2,000 volunteers and 16 to 18 routes.
Anita began her tenure at the VAC not too long after Ron.
“He told me one day that VAC could use some help, so I started part time, helping with time cards,” she said in the release. “I just started helping wherever I was needed, and I have done a lot of different things here.”
Before coming to the VAC, Anita worked selling new-construction homes and counseling first-time homebuyers, a job that gave her a real knack for working with details and connecting with people.
High school sweethearts, the Mullens find themselves lucky to have found a mission to serve together.
“Most people never find a job they truly love,” Ron said in the release. “This has been a job I love.”
“All the people I have met from all walks of life and all the stories you hear from the seniors and the volunteers – that is what I will miss the most,” Anita said in the release. “It is not about being the best in your job. It is about doing your best for someone else.”
Since 1974, Voluntary Action Center of DeKalb County has served the transportation and nutrition needs of the community through Community Transit, Meals on Wheels and Senior Nutrition programs. Its mission includes a five-county network of staff. Volunteers are always welcome.