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Bro. William Vaupel Receives Jefferson Public Service Award

At ceremonies in Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh on Thursday, January 27, Bro. William Vaupel received the Jefferson Award for Public Service in recognition of 9,000 hours of service to fellow veterans at the Veterans Hospital. The prestigious award is considered the Nobel Prize of volunteering. The awards are given each year by the American Institute for Public Service.

In addition, the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System received a $1,000 donation in his honor, from the Fisa Foundation.

Bro. Vaupel has reported for volunteer duty at the gastrointestinal lab of the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System twice a week for the past 14 years. From 7 am to 3 pm on Wednesdays and Fridays, he stocks shelves, cleans beds and jokes with veterans as he escorts them to their procedures.

Several years ago, the VA gave Bro.Vaupel a plaque in honor of his 7,500 hours of service. And in October, the Syria Shrine's Legion of Honor surprised him at a dinner with an award for outstanding volunteer service. He got into volunteer work after retiring from his store (Vaupel Electronics) in 1989. "A buddy of mine was volunteering at the VA, and I went with him one day and I've been volunteering there ever since."

He was nominated for the award by Melinda O'Donnell, a former charge nurse at the GI lab, "he puts his fellow veterans at ease with funny stories and memories of his own time in military service." He served in World War II and the Korean conflict.

Bro. Vaupel's own health has not been without problems. He had a heart attack 10 years ago and has had two knee replacements and prostate cancer and is now dealing with high blood pressure and cholesterol. If it's slowed him down you'd never notice because the VA isn't the only recipient of Vaupel's efforts. He does maintenance work at two churches, collects clothes and food for the needy, and delivers soap to a men's shelter. He drives people who need rides, and any time he hears of medical equipment that's no longer in use, he finds it a new home.

"I have a philosophy," he said. "The road of life for all of us is not straight and smooth. It's got curves and rough patches. If I can straighten that out for someone, it makes me happy. And at my age, I want to be happy. "Giving money is not enough. You've got to give where it costs you, inconvenience yourself. Take the time to help people who have no one else to turn to." He truly shares the Light of Freemasonry.

Ed. Note: Bro. William N. Vaupel, 83, is a member of Corinthian Lodge No. 573. He is a 55 year Mason and has served three times as Worshipful Master of his Lodge ­ 1959, 1979, and 1984 of Theodore Roosevelt Lodge No. 697. He is now a member of Corinthian Lodge No. 573 following a merger of his former Lodge. He is also active in other Masonic bodies: Scottish Rite, Shrine, Grotto and York Rite Masonry.

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