Volunteer, 82, 'works circles' around others

Posted at 8:27 AM, Nov 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-19 14:57:35-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — You won't find moss growing under Bill DeSomma's feet.

"I gotta keep busy," he said. "I see too many people that retire and don't last long."

At 82 years old, DeSomma seems to have one mode: On — and one speed: Fast.

"Bill is just a machine. He has a routine. He comes in, he sets up. He works circles around all of us," said Candace Gregory, the president and CEO of Omaha's Open Door Mission.

DeSomma volunteers at the organization's Timberlake Outreach Center. He started in February 2020, but not with the intention of becoming the high-impact volunteer that he is today.

"I just figured I'd volunteer for a while, and I got to like it, helping people, so I just stayed."

DeSomma has given more than 2,400 hours to the cause so far. More impressive than the hours logged is what he's done with that time. As a veteran, former business owner, mental health professional, volunteer firefighter and retired deacon, DeSomma noticed several of his skills and experiences could be applied to benefit the 150 families served on average each day at Timberlake.

"Volunteering is just giving back to God something that He already gives to us anyway," he said.

DeSomma and other volunteers have never been needed more.

"Over the last 27 years, this is by far our lowest numbers of volunteers that are coming on to our campus," Gregory said, continuing, "We're really feeling that double whammy of not having the volume of not having the volunteers that we've had in years prior, and also the need being up across the board."

Since the start of the pandemic, the Open Door Mission has seen a 50% increase in food insecurity alongside a 90% decrease in the number of volunteers.

"I know that everybody can't be like Bill, but you can make an impact one person at a time," Gregory said.

To learn about the organization's 100-plus volunteer roles, visit their website: Home - Open Door Mission .

DeSomma has had an interesting life to say the least. In the below video, he talks about the time he met Walt Disney and the unorthodox breakfast he's made a part of his routine for decades:

Web Extra: Bill DeSomma

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