One of the first faces you might see if you take a tour of SourcePoint in Delaware is that of Catherine Schonauer, a Galena woman who volunteers her time to give back to the local senior center as a way of thanking SourcePoint for its Meals on Wheels program.
In 2015, Schonauer was working in the human resources department for the State of Ohio’s Opportunities for Disabilities when she developed strep throat. The strep throat developed into pneumonia and then sepsis, and on July 1, 2015, she had to have her hands and feet amputated.
Schonauer retired from her job and spent the next six months in rehabilitation.
After she returned home, she became a client of SourcePoint’s Meals on Wheels program, which delivered food to her several times during the week, and last year, she began volunteering as a concierge at SourcePoint.
“Ultimately, it was my way to give back to SourcePoint because of Meals on Wheels,” Schonauer, 51, said. “I greet people coming and going, and anybody who wants a tour, that’s me also.”
Schonauer said giving tours has been great practice on building up stamina and practice on walking with her leg prosthesis.
“On stilts it’s… you know,” Schonauer said, laughing. Schonauer said the prosthesis she currently uses to walk are her fourth pair, but added she recently walked around Tanger Outlets without difficulty.
Schonauer said it was important to her to get back out there and help others.
“I want to be a role model for people,” Schonauer said. “When I usually tell people my story of how I became an amputee, some people don’t know what to say. People say I’m inspiring and that’s fine, but really you can feel sorry for yourself or you can move forward.”
In addition to volunteering at SourcePoint, Schonauer is a certified peer visitor through the Amputee Coalition and visits people who have been hospitalized and have to undergo amputations.
“I’m there to show them life doesn’t end,” Schonauer said. “Sometimes, questions are hard to ask able people when you have questions about being amputated. So, sometimes being an amputee provides more answers to questions.”
Schonauer said she also does volunteer work with Columbus-based Optimus Prosthetics. Before her two-hour shift as a concierge Friday, Schonauer added she plans to keep volunteering as much as possible in the future.
“Volunteering is important to me because I can’t currently work,” Schonauer said.
She added on top of making her feel good and giving her purpose, volunteering is a way to meet new people. “It definitely gives me some socialization.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.