Meet Richard Kolster, affectionately known as Dick. Retired and yearning for a renewed sense of purpose, Dick set out on a transformative journey of giving back that would touch countless lives. In 2019, he discovered Sage Eldercare’s Restoration Workshop, a pivotal turning point in his life, driven by a deep desire to be a helpful and active member of his community.
This workshop became his sanctuary, offering the routine and structure he longed for, and an opportunity to fill his days with purpose, joy, and a profound sense of fulfillment while stepping outside the confines of his home. Here, among like-minded souls, Dick found the perfect fit to be of service and make a significant impact on the lives of seniors, no longer idling away his days, but instead, embracing the hum of activity and the camaraderie that comes with it.
One might wonder what drew Dick to this workshop. It was a unique blend of elements that seemed tailored just for him. He relished the opportunity to work with his hands, breathing life back into worn and broken chairs. But that was just the beginning of the magic he found at Sage.
The real treasure for Dick was the community he discovered within the workshop’s walls. He found friends who shared his passion for restoration and a shared purpose that bound them together. As he worked alongside them, he felt a deep sense of belonging that had been missing in his retirement.
Dick was not alone in his dedication to the workshop’s mission. His eyes would light up as he spoke about Bob McNally, the workshop manager, a mentor, and friend. Bob’s words of wisdom echoed in his heart, especially during the early days when he was learning the art of caning and rushing chairs. “Rip it out and start over,” Bob would say, instilling in him the belief that mistakes were merely steppingstones to perfection. With each “redo,” Dick grew in skill and determination.
The fondest of memories are etched in Dick’s mind, such as the day when the workshop had a special visitor, Steven Rapkin from Hoboken. Steven brought with him a precious Adu Zatua wooden sculpture in need of repair. Witnessing this beautifully restored piece brought tears of gratitude to Steven’s eyes. It was moments like these that reaffirmed the profound impact of the workshop’s work.
For Dick, the essence of his volunteerism was beautifully simple – having fun while fixing broken chairs, breathing life back into weary seats through caning and rushing, making them usable again. But his contribution extended far beyond the workshop itself. The funds raised from their efforts support SAGE’s essential programs for seniors, including adult medical daycare, home care services, meals delivery, and community support.
Richard Kolster’s story is a testament to the incredible power of volunteerism, community, and the joy of giving back. It reminds us that, in our retirement years, we can find a new sense of purpose and, in the process, create an enduring legacy of kindness and support for those who need it the most. His journey at Sage Eldercare’s Restoration Workshop is not just about repairing chairs; it’s a story of mending hearts and enriching lives, one chair at a time.