Date: June 30, 2007
About: Frank Saeger - Class of 1950
Habitat for Humanity
Frank Saeger felt involved and appreciated in his long career as a mechanical engineer. They were feelings he wanted to maintain through his retirement years.
He found a way to make that happen with Habitat for Humanity.
"I enjoy feeling good about it," Saeger said. "Most retired people feel the same thing. We're trying to help somebody."
Saeger retired in 1997 after 42 years with Gardner-Denver. His job involved finding products that would work and were cost-effective.
And "there were always technical problems that required attention," he said.
He enjoyed his job and would gladly have kept working, but retirement was expected at age 65, he said.
"I didn't think it would be a problem to find things to do," he said. "You ask most retired people and they wonder how they found time to get things done while they were working. But in retirement, I think you just slow down. It seems to take forever to get anything done."
Saeger volunteered first with Meals on Wheels, spending the middle of the day once a week delivering groceries to shut-ins.
He jokes that his wife, Arlene, wanted him to find something else to do to get him out of the house.
In 2001, he started working with Habitat.
"It was an outlet for me for something to do, and carpentry work appealed to me," he said.
On a recent sunny morning, Saeger ran errands from the Habitat site for a crew of workers from Indiana. The church group spends a week every summer working on a Habitat project, and this year, it chose Quincy's.
The Quincy contingent planned to treat its visitors to a dinner cruise on the riverboat at Hannibal, Mo.
The social aspect of being involved with Habitat is a pleasant perk, Saeger said.
"Pretty much the same people show up" for the work sessions Fridays and Saturdays, he said.
Coming in as a beginner, Saeger said, he's learned a lot from other members of the crew, most notably Don Smith and Marvin Kerber, both of whom are experienced carpenters.
For volunteers not interested in learning carpentry skills but still willing to help, there's plenty to do, he said. The site always needs people who are able to do cleaning chores, paint and lend a pair of hands to move heavy objects or hold a ladder.
The Habitat house near 10th and Jefferson is going up slowly, piece by piece. On a good day, half a dozen workers, most of them retired, spend the cooler hours at work. It's a far cry from the contractor's crew that will raise a house in just a few days.
But when the home is completed, Saeger can take pride that he participated in a project that means a new start for a family just starting out or maybe down on their luck.
"It was a matter of finding something where I could help," he said.