March 23, 2017
This is the first in a monthly series featuring Q&A’s with members of the Retire United Committee. Learn more about Retire United, including how you can get involved.
Bev Jurkowski is retired from We Energies. She currently resides in Hales Corners and Boulder Junction, and has been involved with United Way in some capacity for over 30 years.
How did you first get involved with United Way?
Initially, I got involved because of my job. I ran the employee campaigns for several employers. Being involved at this level gave me first-hand insight into the many outstanding programs that United Way supports. I also learned much through involvement in the Season of Caring activities that put us up close to many agencies and programs.
Do you volunteer in your spare time?
My volunteer activities span several organizations including my church where I chair a committee as well as do a considerable amount of writing and editing for the parish publications. I have also organized a group of friends who prepare and serve a meal at a United Way-supported shelter for homeless. I will never forget the time that a group of employees were preparing a meal at a meal program on Milwaukee’s south side. This group served the food quite often but on one occasion, we volunteered to buy and prepare the entire meal. A vice president of the company joined in the activity and brought his teenaged son along to see the poverty in our community but also to learn how to help. That vice president went on to become the CEO of a large company based in Milwaukee. I often wonder if his son continues to be a light in the community where he lives.
If you could change one thing about your community, what would it be?
The high school graduation rate. The future is not bright for a person who doesn’t finish high school. This has a ripple effect on the wider community.
What is your favorite travel destination?
Alaska. I’d go back today and stay for a year. The beauty is like none other.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I used to compete in biathlons – running and bicycling. I once took second place in my age group. My running days are over but I still bicycle regularly.
What one perception of retirement for you turned out to be different than you imagined?
I thought I would enjoy a life that was totally unstructured but I found I like routine and a certain rhythm to my days. This was positive in that it affirmed how I like to live. I don’t feel constrained.
What would you say to a person who is concerned that they will be bored in retirement?
Your days will fill with meaningful things whether it is time at the library catching up on magazines that you enjoy, taking time for exercise, spending time journaling or being with friends for long lunches. You’ve earned this time to become a new spirit.