Skip to main content

Some people are so full of goodness that they exude generosity like a scent. Ralph is a Meals on Wheels volunteer in Oregon who is exactly such a person. He’s still going strong, volunteering to deliver meals to those in need, at 98 years old.

Life hasn’t been easy for Ralph. Right after getting his driver’s license, he was drafting out of high school. Yup, Ralph’s a WWII veteran. He was actually awarded a purple heart for being wounded in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium, which was the largest battle U.S. soldiers fought.

A shell hit the tree above Ralph and shrapnel rained down on him. But he can find a silver lining even in that. “Actually, I was very lucky. It hit me in the waistband, so it went through about three belts. In wintertime, we had a lot of clothes on. It still hurt though.”

Ralph isn’t seeking any recognition for his volunteer work, and asked interviewers to not use his last name. But he did let a news crew ride along for his deliveries. He not only still has his driver’s license (81 years after getting it), but he uses it one day a week to deliver 18 meals to folks who can’t get out.

Meals on Wheels often organizes younger volunteers to deliver food to older folks who can no longer drive. But Ralph flips the script. One of his Thursday regulars is Maria. She’s ten year’s Ralph’s junior and teases him over it. But her current lung cancer treatment makes it difficult to see and impossible to drive. She says, ” I can’t drive, I can’t do nothing. But putting that in the microwave I can do and have a good meal.”

Meals on wheels vegetable bag
Grocery bag | SeventyFour

Maria loves that Ralph is still making his deliveries. “It keeps him alive and me alive, right?”

Ralph responded with a smile, “That’s right.”

When told he’s being named an “everyday hero” by the local news station Ralph laughed. “Well if that’s what it takes to be a hero, we need more.”