Chappaqua Daily Voice

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Westchester Medical Center Board Member Pushes Volunteerism

VALHALLA, N.Y. – When John Heimerdinger retired, a lot of his friends suggested he move to Florida, where he could wake up and play nine holes every morning. “I said, ‘What are you, crazy?’ ” recounts Heimerdinger, now 80, who has dedicated much of his life to volunteer work and now serves on the board of directors of Westchester County Health Care Corp.

Since joining the board in 1997, Heimerdinger has helped improve Westchester Medical Center’s health care by sharpening the center’s medical practices and serving on the quality assurance, strategic planning and finance committees as well as its audit committee, which he helped launch in 2003.

“Your eyesight goes, and your knees begin to diminish, but there are always ways you can contribute to your community,” says the cheerfully spirited Heimerdinger, who fled a career on Wall Street in 1972 to work for the Jewish Guild for the Blind, where he was appointed president. He also worked as a volunteer firefighter for 54 years, two as Chief of the Department, and 33 of which he was an EMT.

How to get involved? Heimerdinger suggests that aspiring volunteers find an area of interest, and call the organization to find out how to help. “If you don’t want the personal interaction of dealing with patients, there are always opportunities to do data entry or stuff envelopes.”

And there’s an added benefit to community work that might not occur to a lot of people. Heimerdinger puts it quite simply: “If you want to stay young, you’ve got to stay active!” Which may explain why this Armonk resident sounds so vivacious after eight decades of life.