Monday, July 7, 2003

Bridgetown man lends hand at home for nuns

Lively retiree: Bingo is his game-o

By Janet C. Wetzel
Enquirer contributor

Bob Sinnard and Sister Pierre Habel play a little Bingo at Mother Margaret Hall in Delhi.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
| ZOOM |
When people at Mother Margaret Hall need help with activities, they yell for Bob.

And Bob Sinnard comes running, usually with a crew of helpers.

Whether it's organizing and running a bingo game, a party, summer cookouts or holiday events, Sinnard is ready to lend a hand.

"I'll do just about anything to help. It doesn't matter to me,'' said Sinnard, of Bridgetown. "They know all they have to do is call.''

When Sinnard, 75, retired in 1992 after 31 years as a plumbing inspector with the Hamilton County Board of Health, he planned to get involved in volunteer work as a way to help others and stay busy.

He didn't plan, however, to become so immersed in his new job.

Giving back to the nuns

Mother Margaret Hall is a Delhi nursing home providing long-term care for the Sisters of Charity. When Sinnard saw a notice on the Holy Family Church bulletin board that volunteers were needed to help provide transportation, he decided to get involved.

"I had nuns in school at Holy Family and all of them were nice to me," Sinnard said. "So I decided to go offer to help out."

But after two years of driving the nuns to doctors and dentists visits, the facility realized it needed full-time help.

"I didn't want to do it for pay, so I asked what else they might need my help with," Sinnard said. "They said go to the activity room and they would give me something to do."

Now he's in charge of Bingo with Bob, and even got some sponsors to donate gifts.

He also hosts a monthly sing-a-long for birthdays, helps with cookouts, ice cream socials, holiday parties and fund-raisers. He even helps build floats for the annual Delhi holiday parade around Christmas.

"Whenever we need more help, for bingo, the cookouts, or anything else, I just call some of my friends from the Catholic War Veterans Post 1492, John J. Martin Post at Holy Family, Price Hill," Sinnard said. "I'm a member there, and there are people who are always willing to drop everything and come to help.

"When I call, they're Johnny on the spot. For the cookouts, we cook the food, take it and drinks around to everyone, and after it's over we take everything back to the kitchen."

Sinnard also gets family members involved -- including Linda and Gary Willig, daughter and son-in-law; grandson Chris Willig; and great-grandson Mitchell Dean, 9, who loves to help the nuns with bingo cards.

Sinnard and some of his Catholic War Veterans buddies also volunteer at the VA Medical Center in Cincinnati. The first Monday of each month they host a bingo game there, and on some Sundays they help take patients to Mass.

For more than 11 years, Sinnard also has delivered Meals-on-Wheels one day a week at Santa Maria in Price Hill, averaging 20 meals a week.

Kate Preston, Mother Margaret Hall activities director,said she's blessed with many wonderful volunteers, "but Bob stands out."

'Ready to jump'

"He's been with us many years, and he's always steadfast. He's always ready to jump in at a moment's notice, no questions," Preston said. "He's here at least 12-20 hours a month -- it varies with the seasons. . He's expanded the role here to his entire family, and has recruited the war veterans to help. I'm sure if he could find a man on the street to come and volunteer, he would do it."

Sinnard said he enjoys every hour, every day.

"It's never too busy for me," he said. "I was thinking the other day I might be able to do more. This is a good way to help people and have fun doing it. It keeps me busy, and makes me feel useful."


Do you know a Hometown Hero - someone in your community dedicated to making it a better place to live and helping others? E-mail Janet Wetzel at,or fax to 513-755-4150.

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