Volunteer Does Whatever Is Needed

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Darrel Elston works nights at Mazatzal Casino and hasn't slept in hours, yet he cheerfully vacuums paper shreds off of the floor of the Payson Regional Senior Circle early Tuesday morning.

The Senior Circle recently named Elston as its Volunteer of the Month.

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Senior Circle's Volunteer of the Month Darrel Elston stands beside cabinets he single-handedly installed in the kitchen.

"I'm just a guy in the background, helping where I can," Elston said. "I just happen to be a doer. Come up with an idea, and I'll see if I can do it."

Elston said he began volunteering in April 2006, shortly after retiring in Payson.

"Initially, all I was doing was helping set up chairs and tables for their monthly banquet," Elston said. "The next thing you know, I was putting the kitchen together."

Elston, who started working in construction 30 years ago, hung donated cabinets. He also installed countertops and shelving.

"We came up with the idea to put in a pass-through window, so I did that," Elston said. "You can put plugs through so the coffeepots have power."

Elston said he also lends his computer skills.

"We asked for donations for a computer class, and people brought in separate components, like monitors and keyboards," Elston said. "We had to test the equipment and make sure it was functional and compatible with our needs."

Elston said he mostly works alone.

"I pulled a muscle in my back while pulling up carpet in the kitchen, so I had to get some help," said Elston, who then installed linoleum flooring. "But I did the rest myself."

He points to his shirt, which shows a picture of a wolf.

"The wolf is special to me because the Indians call them totem animals," Elston said. "They get an animal, and that's their style of life. Wolves are pretty much loners, so I do a lot of stuff by myself."

Elston said he regularly volunteers Tuesdays, but will stop in as needed.

"If they need me for anything, I try to fit it into my schedule," Elston said.

"I'll take down tables for line dancing Thursday night on my way to work and put them back on my way home, Saturday at 7 a.m."

Between volunteering at the Senior Circle, Elston finds time to work on his own projects, including touching up his back porch and developing a home office.

Elston arrives at the Senior Circle ready for any task.

"They never tell me what I'm doing until I show up, otherwise they're afraid I might not come," Elston said, smiling.

Senior Circle volunteer Sue Beckwith said Elston does whatever anyone needs.

"When Senior Circle Advisor Kathy Coombes bought a new front desk, he stopped what he was doing and immediately put it together," Beckwith said. "He's dependable, trustworthy and loyal. His heart is as big as gold."

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