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93-year-old volunteer not 'afraid to work'

Art Schanz, 93, volunteers every Thursday at the food shelf in Wadena. The shelves were still empty when he and other Verndale volunteers were at the food shelf the day after it moved into its new location on Aldrich Avenue Southeast.

Every Thursday Art Schanz, 93, drives ladies from Verndale in a seven-passenger van to Project Share of Wadena, Inc. to fill the shelves with food.

Schanz breaks down boxes for recycling while the ladies stack shelves.

"Art is wonderful," said Sally Schaffhausen, one of the Verndale ladies who volunteers at the food shelf.

Schanz started his weekly trips to volunteer at the food shelf around four and a half years ago, said Barb Schanz, his wife since 1966.

He was asked to come along one day, he said.

"So I said, heck, I'll go along," he said. "I've been going on the job ever since."

They'll keep coming as long as he can drive them, said Barb, 76.

Around 12 Verndale volunteers come every Thursday, the ladies said. Virginia Ritari and Mary Ludovissie were some of the other Verndale volunteers who helped out the Thursday after the food shelf moved into its new location. Ritari will be 85 in July, she said.

Schaffhausen said there haven't been many times when they haven't come even in bad weather.

"If we don't get it out here, they don't get it," she said about the food and those we need it.

Schanz enjoys volunteering, he said.

"One of the girls will take over if I couldn't -- that was one time," he said. "They said how do you stand that as old as you are. I said I'm used to working."

Art has had lots of occupations. He worked at the Aldrich cheese factory, was a bar tender at the River Inn and worked at the Verndale liquor store. He mowed lawns until he was 89 after taking the job over from the youngest son of their 10 children when he joined the Marines.

"So I never was afraid to work," Schanz said.