Every week Dorothy Hyland sets place mats, coffee and treats out for her house guests.
Santee members , along with her partner Stan Hoffman, routinely visit the 90-year-old as part of Santee’s (YANA) program, which includes welfare checks on enrolled seniors.
“I love it,” Hyland said. “I look forward to anyone who visits me.”
She is particularly fond of Koeppen. The two have become close friends throughout the last six years of visits.
“She is a very sweet, loving, caring, giving person,” Hyland said.
Koeppen helps organize and supervise Santee’s YANA program. Volunteer Patrol members call enrolled seniors multiple times each week in addition to their weekly visits.
“Physically we see them as well as call them to make sure that things are normal like they usually are,” she said. “That’s to make sure they’re OK.”
Some of the seniors are bedridden and need assistance, Koeppen explained, and others like “Dotty” just want to chat.
Hyland enjoys talking about her homemade jewelry, among other things. She keeps numerous small containers filled with gems and other supplies to create jewelry, which she has made for 40 years. Every fall, Hyland organizes a jewelry show and sells pieces out of her home.
“They’re fun; they’re nice,” said Hyland, about Koeppen and Hoffman. “They make my day.”
Koeppen is dedicated to all of the individuals enrolled in the YANA program, Hoffman added.
“Every one of them to her is like a caring concern,” he said. “She feels responsible.”
Because of her work, Koeppen was recently awarded the County’s Aging and Independence Services at Santee .
“When you’re 81 years old and you get something like this, it’s a surprise,” said Koeppen. “It’s nice to be recognized.”
Although Koeppen was surprised about her recent award, her longtime partner wasn’t.
Hoffman helped trained Koeppen when she began volunteering at the Santee Sheriff's Station in 2002. Since then, she has logged more than 4,700 hours of volunteer patrol time in Santee, Lakeside and El Cajon.
“She knows what to do as a partner and she handles it well,” Hoffman said. “There’s a comforting feeling when your partner knows how to handle everything.”
In addition to welfare checks on seniors enrolled in the YANA program, Koeppen and Hoffman patrol local shopping centers, mobile home parks and other locations. They also perform home security checks when residents are away on vacation, among other services.
“Sometimes we have some unusual days, but most of the time they are good days,” Koeppen said. “Let’s just say you have to have a good sense of humor.”
Hoffman added that he enjoys working alongside Koeppen.
“At the end of the day, I always feel we’ve done our good deed,” he said. “We love it. We really love it.”
Before she was a part of the volunteer program, Koeppen worked in banking for 25 years until she retired in 2001.
“To me, you don’t take a job unless you put your heart into it,” said Koeppen, about the Santee Senior Volunteer Patrol program. “It’s time that’s well spent. It’s not wasted; it’s rewarding.”