Idleness is not in Tom Glassel's vocabulary - Glassel drives for two RSVP transportation programs -- Vets Helping Vets and Driver Escort. During his five years of service, he has logged 21,186 miles and nearly 1,200 hours helping seniors and Veterans get to medical and other important appointments.
Volunteer drivers like Glassel serve as a lifeline to the people they drive, who have no other form of transportation and like many of us, need to get to appointments to maintain their health and stay connected to the community in which they live, and often do so on a very limited income.
The seeds of compassion are often planted and nurtured in people's family life. Glassel must have paid close attention to lessons shared by his parents and in his years as a student at St. Mary's Springs Academy in Fond du Lac and St. Norbert's College where he graduated with a BS in Psychology.
In 1962, Glassel began a 10-year commitment to the Army at the 5th Army Recruitment Center in Indianapolis, where he put his psychology degree to effective use as the testing officer for Indiana. In 1965, Glassel was assigned to NATO Headquarters Paris, followed by the US Embassy in Paris. He then served a year as the Personnel Action Human Resources Officer with the 4th Infantry Division Headquarters near Pleiku, South Vietnam, and finished his military service at the Army Transportation School in Newport News, VA in 1972.
In 1963, Glassel and high school sweetheart Barbara exchanged vows and began their life together in Indianapolis, where the first of their three children was born, with two more to follow during their time in Paris. With his experience in human resources, it was logical for him to start his executive recruiting career in 1972, where he worked until his retirement in 2001, when the couple moved to Madison. Along the way, the Glassels raised three children, renovated their 1850-built home, and became deeply involved in genealogy--tracing their family back to the 1600s--and renewal of collectible automobiles.
Glassel's life echoes a theme of service -- to country, to family, to businesses, and to fellow Veterans and seniors. Connecting with fellow humans is clearly one of Glassel's strong suits, so helping drive seniors and Veterans was a good fit. "I'm involved because I see the need and have the time," said Glassel. "It was especially appealing to work with Veterans."
Driving combines some of Glassel's life long pursuits -- concern for Veterans, love of cars and his respect for those that came before him, so when he says, "Driving was love at first sight," it makes perfect sense. Whatever the reasons, Glassel's service as a volunteer impacts hundreds of people each year in a personal and very tangible way.