Dan Poiree, and side-kick Ginger, has cheerily been volunteering at Hospitality House for several years now after answering an ad from Natalie who was looking for someone to install a sink in the kitchen counter. He answered this call and it’s been a steady and happy affiliation with Hospitality House ever since!
Dan grew up in Palo Alto, California and after two years of college embarked on what would be a life full of adventure and challenge. Life is short and his interests have been many:
- Surgical Technologist, 21 years
- Aerial photographer (to pay for his advanced pilot ratings), two years
- Flight instructor, charter pilot, flight school director of operations, and corporate pilot, 20 years
- Contractor, six years
- Portrait photographer, one year and counting.
Let us count the ways Dan has helped keep the Hospitality House facility running. He has replaced the bunk beds with stronger metal bunk beds, hung towel hooks in the bathroom, unclogged sink drains, patched defects in walls to prepare for painting by other eager volunteers, replaced the kitchen cabinets, repaired the washing machine (twice) and moved the Christmas tree and decorations to and from the basement. He is willing to tackle any need expressed by staff or residents!
Dan says that volunteering at Hospitality House has always been a pure joy for him. He often brings his little golden retriever, Ginger, with him. Certainly Ginger slows down his day, but he thinks Ginger serves as a welcome, even therapeutic, distraction for many of the residents. The residents usually delight in seeing her with her wagging tail and her funny dog grin. Others, those who have had negative experiences with dogs, learn that Ginger can show unconditional love and affection to everyone and they usually become a ‘Ginger lover’. He feels privileged when at times the residents will simply share what is on their mind. That might be the sadness of missing their family, sharing other life’s difficulties, or the pronouncement and uncontrollable joy of getting a job or finding an apartment. Dan, Mr. Fix-it, in his paint stained clothes and worn out shoes, a stranger in their presence, seems to be a trusted friend during their transition and challenging time.
Dan marvels at how the Hospitality House staff knows how to get the maximum benefit from every dollar and is amazed at the small army of ladies who constantly supply Hospitality House with food, supplies, donated time, and other needed duties. Hospitality House has served some wonderful residents, who likewise take their time at Hospitality House and make the most of the opportunities to better themselves in whatever way possible.
Besides volunteering at Hospitality House, Dan was appointed by the Burien City Council to serve on the Business and Economic Development Partnership (BEDP), a volunteer advisory committee to the City Council. He also gets involved with other local but less formal groups of various interests.
As for Dan’s future, in a year or two he and his wife plan to move to Canada, to his wife’s home town, to be closer to her brother and extended family. Clearly, after the move, he says he will miss all the wonderful people he has been fortunate to meet and interact with, not only throughout Burien but especially those at Hospitality House. He hopes that he has in some small way touched the lives of those he has met at Hospitality House as they have touched him.