Posted: Sep 14, 2012 1:46 PM by Chet Layman - MTN News
Updated: Sep 14, 2012 1:49 PM
WEST YELLOWSTONE- Most of us in the workforce are looking forward to retirement, that magic time when relaxation is the only focus.
Reporter Chet Layman recently caught up with a group of retirees in West Yellowstone who say working is the best part of being retired.
They were in West Yellowstone building, painting, renovating as part of the Road Scholar Program, which used to be called Elderhostel.
Rick Hafenfele is a board member at the Madison Ranger Station Museum in West Yellowstone where the group spent the week working.
He says the Roads Scholar program has two different options.
"There's two aspects, there's a travel group that goes around tours things and gets you educated on local history, and there's a group called the service project and those are folks that want to work on something rather than just tour."
All are retired, and instead of getting into a RV and heading around the country, these people give a couple weeks to work.
Linda Wallace coordinated the groups visit to West Yellowstone.
"People of course do some of that but that can get old and they like to be busy and productive and make a contribution."
Replacing carriage doors, and winterizing the four log buildings in West Yellowstone was on the week's agenda for the crew of eight, that came from across the country.
Work is getting done that might not otherwise, and the workers say they enjoy being busy, though there is a downside says Tania Fritsch from Wisconsin.
"We stink and we've been told that when we go in to a number of places, but oh well."
Jean Jankowski from Ohio simply sees this as something better than sitting around.
"I can't imagine just going and sitting on the beach or that stuff, I want to be doing something."
This is Jean's 21st project. And it seems for many the rewards outweigh the effort. For example, retired firefighter Stan Murphy is currently on his 75th project since joining the group in 1998.
"I had plenty of time and for something to do and once I started and after you do a few of these, I warned people about it you get addicted."
Stan will leave Montana for Virginia, his fifth project this year.
They had their careers, raised their families, and now they see these projects as payback. Tania Fritsch says there is another reward, especially from this project in West Yellowstone.
"It's also nice to work on something older than us."
The group's week in Montana was not all work. They took all day Wednesday to tour Yellowstone National Park.