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Andy Kiehl And Patient Ed Dahlem

Andy Kiehl joined Hosparus Health volunteers in May 2019 after one of our resource nurses recruited him in a yoga studio. In addition to working full time, Andy was also involved with Holy Trinity Parish School, volunteering with the sports team and coaching for 20 years, but he still was called to donate his time at Hosparus Health. Andy jumped right in providing companionship to patients in Central Louisville after meeting the requirements to become a volunteer. Kayla Crawley, volunteer manager for Central Louisville, said Andy has been great not only building relationships with patients, but also advocating for their needs. He brings flexibility and visits at times that not only provide companionship, but also respite for the caregiver.

Andy received a call from Kayla in August about a new assignment. Our patient, Ed Dahlem, hoped to be paired with a volunteer who enjoyed sharing his love of woodworking.

Andy shares this about the experience:

I was assigned to Ed because he is an avid woodworker and has a shop in the basement of his home. During our first visit, while getting to know each other, he asked if I had ever done any woodworking projects. Although handy, and having done a lot of home improvement, my only real “finished wood” project was a lamp that I made in middle school shop class, 45 years ago. 

I told him I still own the lamp, and we use it in a spare bedroom in the house. So, when Ed then asked me about doing a project, I said it would be fun to make another lamp, all these years later. Ed said, “let’s do it!” The next visit, I brought the lamp and we started the process of recreating it.  

As an amazingly talented man, Ed worked with me to show how we could make a replica. The first step was picking out the right material from his extensive collection of wood. He possessed a great eye for design and detail and chose a beautiful contrasting wood to put a modern look on an old design.

An engineer by education and trade, he instructed me in the next step to make size drawings of the pieces of the lamp. The third step was cutting all pieces out of the wood. There were design challenges along the way with the cord, electrical parts and pump handle switch, but Ed is a great thinker and we worked together to solve each issue. After sanding and applying urethane to all the pieces, we assembled the lamp. The final step was connecting all the electrical parts.  

After just five visits, we were able to put in a bulb, plug the lamp in and light it up, side by side with the original from 45 years ago.

Although this was far from the most creative, challenging or artistic project that Ed has ever done, he was an amazing teacher and was as proud as I was when we finished.  

One of the great rewards of volunteering is the feeling of connecting with a patient and finding common interests and accomplishments. This was a fantastic experience. I look forward to my time with Ed and hope to be able to work on other projects in the coming weeks.

Pictured: The original lamp in front of Ed on the right, from about 1974. On the left is the recreated lamp in 2019.

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