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Volunteers Help Nonprofit Thrive

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EUGENE, Ore. — You’ve heard the saying many hands make light work. At St. Vincent de Paul’s wood shop in Eugene, many hands are working.

Old mattresses arrive, they’re broken down and made new.

Dennis Maricle is a whiz when it comes to inventions.

“I like to solve problems. It’s fun. I like to solve riddles,” Maricle said.

When the garnetting machine first arrived and wouldn’t work, he solved the mystery.

Maricle started volunteering with St. Vincent de Paul back in 1980, about 32 years ago. He was first an emergency home visitor helping families with food, rent and electricity. Then he served as St. Vincent de Paul’s district council president. Now he serving his second term as a diocesan president.

“Between all the hats, I probably put in five to six hours every week any way, probably more than that,” Maricle said.

Keep in mind, he works for free so that others can earn a living. His work and that of many others has created jobs.

When Maricle first started volunteering, none of this existed. Paid workers now produce fire starters, brick o’ wax, furniture and mattresses. They’re doing more than recycling products, they’re recycling lives.

“I had the ability and the authority to change so that we could make that happen,” Maricle said.

St. Vincent de Paul’s Executive Director Terry McDonald is able to chart the success. Thirty years ago St. Vincent de Paul had just 57 volunteers and 27 staff members.

“We moved from there to where we are today with about 450 staff, and in the last nine months we just did a calculation. We used about 5,700 volunteers,” Maricle said.

Many hands are now creating jobs and provide emergency services to those in need. Some hands have simply touched more lives.

Maricle prefers to stay in the background, but he can’t help but shine every day heading out to help others.

“What we learn in this society, we learn the essence of Christian charity, and that is we don’t judge,” Maricle said.

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