By Don Lowe
A clear passion and vision for helping others has continued pushing Ed and Susan Wuch to give a great deal of their time to Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of the Four States for many years. And neither of them seems close to slowing down anytime soon.
A video on the RMHC website provides a perfect sense of why Ed volunteers and a personal story that made it even more important for he and Susan to offer up their assistance as much as possible.
“I started this because I wanted to do something for other people,” Ed says. “I always thought RMHC was a nice charity. Then, my grandson was born, and my daughter had to spend four weeks at the RMH in Kansas City when her son was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Mercy.
“RMH has been a jewel as far as I’m concerned in Joplin with all the people they’ve served over the 17 years I’ve been recycling pop tabs.I not only recycle pop tabs, but also cardboard, paper, plastic, metal and anything else they recycle. There’s not a better place to volunteer than RMH.”
Affectionately known as Pop Tab Daddy, Ed notes, “I’ve been recycling since I was six or seven years old. We recycled all pop and metal cans. We would take the tops and bottoms off and I’d stomp on them and flatten them.”
Sue says, “Aluminum tabs are collected by RMH and recycled at a center that pays money for them. The money goes into a special fund that is used to help couples in financial need to pay for their stay at the house.
“Since Ed was already recycling, he was also asked to recycle the aluminum tabs. Ed has been recycling the aluminum for about 20 years now.”
In thinking about their volunteerism at Ronald McDonald House, Ed and Susan say, “Most of the couples that stay at the RMH are under stress due to having a child in one of Joplin’s hospitals. Whatever we do at the house helps in keeping it beautiful-looking and being orderly, clean and safe.
“It is a great place for these guests to stay because, not only are the rooms a nice size and well furnished, but there is a kitchen where they can cook if they so desire, and also many meals are furnished by organizations that volunteer in meal preparations.”
Ed and Susan understand the need to lend a helping hand to worthy causes, and they say, “It is important to volunteer to give back to your community.
“Whether you are retired or not, it is just a good feeling when you know you’re doing something to help others, especially those in need.”
Susan also says, from the personal perspective of someone who is retired, “Volunteering geared to retirees is a way to help get them out of the house, while meeting and talking with other people. It helps keep them active.”
Ed and Susan agree the best way of looking at it is “volunteering is vital to help keep organizations like RMH alive and functioning.
“Many of the jobs volunteers take care of would otherwise have to be hired out, and that would place a serious burden on their mission.”
The mission Ed and Susan share with their volunteer work is impressive and a magnificent model for others to follow.
Ed & Susan Wuch/Ronald McDonald House Charities Fast Facts
Ages: Ed is 84 years old and Susan kiddingly says her age is “unknown”
Years Married: 58
Family: Daughter Carrie Wuch Buehler is married to Eric, and their children are Brett, 23, and Derrick, 19. Son Andrew (A.J.) Wuch has a daughter, Allie, 9. Sarah Wuch Long is married to Ryan, and their two children are Daythen, 20, and Parker, 18.
Hometown: Ed and Susan were both born and raised in St. Louis
High School Alma Maters: Ed:Cleveland High School and Susan: Southwest High School
Colleges: Ed and Susan attended the University of Missouri
Careers: Ed was a football and baseball coach, while also teaching a full schedule at Central Methodist University and Missouri Southern State University. Susan taught at the elementary level in New Franklin, Missouri, Fayette, Missouri and Joplin, Missouri.
Volunteerism: Both worked at a monthly church fundraiser chili lunch for more than 12 years. Ed also volunteered his time at junior golf in Joplin for more than 10 years. Susan still volunteers at RAISE tutoring program, teaching English to the Afghan women once a week.