By Donna Brooke
FORT WAYNE — Joe Buchtman, Marlow “Pete” Gump and Bob Liehr are three St. Vincent de Paul Society volunteers who have served their community well for many years — each over 50 years, with a combined total of 164 years.
Joe Buchtman, 83, became a Vincentian in 1951 at the age of 24 when he joined the St. John, New Haven Conference of the Fort Wayne St. Vincent de Paul Society. In his tenure there, he held the office of treasurer. In 1974 he joined the St. John Bosco conference. He helped with the inception of their pantry in 1978, which he helps staff, and also takes Holy Communion to the homebound as well as instructs the children to serve Mass.
Buchtman thanks God for his parents, wife, children and the opportunity to let him serve Him through the conference and the Church. “What you do to the least you do for me,” he says, adding, “Who knows if it was the Lord that you just helped?”
Marlow “Pete” Gump, 86, has been a Vincentian for 55 years. He is a member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Fort Wayne. He held the title of District Council President for four three-year terms. In this position he chaired two Mideast Regional Meetings and has attended many Mideast and national meetings making many friends all over the country.
Gump also served one term on the National Disaster Committee. He helped with the inception of the Care-Van program and delivers bread to the thrift store on Clinton Street two days a week presently, cutting back from five days. For the last 10 years he has been on the thrift store committee. He is still very active and with his wife of 63 years, Jean, makes at least one home visit per week where he helps with a myriad of needs and prays with those in need.
Gump believes that the St. Vincent de Paul Society is the greatest organization that anyone can belong to in doing God’s work and as long as he is good health he will continue to serve.
Bob Liehr, 85, has been a Vincentian for 50 years serving all conference offices at St. John the Baptist Parish, Fort Wayne, where he was a member from 1960 to 1985. He switched to St. Vincent Parish, Fort Wayne, in 1985 where he is still an active member. He currently serves on the thrift store committee and retired six years ago as District Council Treasurer after serving in that capacity for 26 years. He also spent six years as the conference treasurer at St. Vincent’s. Liehr notes that it is very humbling to make a home visit to those in dire need and he thanks God for his blessings.
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