Someone You Should Know: Backup Delivery Driver Has Been a Big Help

Meet this week’s Someone You Should Know
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Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 10:52 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A Sioux Falls man is receiving some appreciation this week for being a reliable volunteer for Meals on Wheels.

“Being retired, looking for some way I could give back. Because I’ve been blessed, so I’ll bless somebody else.”

77-year-old Danny Hammer is one of more than 200 individuals, groups and businesses being honored for the Helpline Center’s 2021 Spirit of Volunteerism Awards. They’re all nominees being acknowledged this week, which is National Volunteer Week.

“It’s nice to be recognized… I enjoy being able to help people. And when called if I’m available, I enjoy doing it,” Danny says.

Danny is a substitute driver for Meals on Wheels, which means he’s called the day before or the day of to make deliveries for routes that aren’t covered by someone else, like if a driver calls in sick.

“Because I’m on-call, it varies from one to five. I’ve done one day a week or five days a week, I’ve been called whenever they need.”

Organizers say this has been especially helpful in the last year. They say several volunteers quit in the first few months of the pandemic because they were considered high risk for COVID-19. Danny continued to be an on-call delivery driver.

“They needed not only the drivers, but the people needed the meal. And they weren’t able to get out,” Danny says.

A lot has changed during the pandemic for safety reasons.

“We put the meal in the bag and just hang it on the doorknob, knock and they reply ‘Okay, I’ll get it,’ and we leave, so we have very little contact. Some people are a lot more open, they’ll open the door, shake my hand and exchange pleasantries for the day.”

Organizers say in 2020, Danny drove well over 250 hours and 2,500 miles for Meals on Wheels in Sioux Falls. For this interview, he tallied up another number from his entire time with the program.

“In the best of my knowledge, in the seven, eight years I’ve done this, I’ve delivered over 10,000 deliveries, made 10 & 11,000 deliveries. They add up, it’s amazing how quickly they add up.”

Danny worked for the South Dakota Department of Transportation for 35 years. He says a lot of that work also involved giving back and helping people, like stranded drivers.

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