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91-year old has been getting results for seniors for 20 years

Margarita Fontanez says volunteering has helped her age well

ORLANDO, Fla. – Margarita Fontanez is this week's News 6 Getting Results Award winner.

Fontanez, 91, has been volunteering at the Engelwood Neighborhood Center in East Orlando for nearly 20 years.

"I get up at 6 (in the morning), get ready, eat a light breakfast and then I'm here at 7:30," she said in Spanish.

Fontanez grew up in Puerto Rico and moved to Central Florida in the '90s. She's been volunteering at the center since 1998.

"I started to help in the kitchen," she said, "Making toast, preparing the milk -- put it in the coffee maker and prepare the glasses. After that, I wash and clean everything."

Seniors from the surrounding community gather at the center weekday mornings from 7:30 a.m. until noon as part of the Seniors First program.

Center manager, Alexandra Temes, has been coming to the center since she was 15 and remembers Fontanez from her childhood.

"She's been here that long," Temes said.

Temes said she often sees Fontanez staying well past everyone else to clean up.

"This recognition of her is amazing, but this is not what's important to her. I know what's important to her is giving back and making sure everyone is OK," Temes said.

Temes said Fontanez is like a liaison between the seniors and the staff because the seniors feel comfortable opening up to her about their problems. In return, she finds them the help they need.   

Fonatnez credited volunteering for her good health, but said helping others is just part of her character.

"It's just the way I am. I like to help, I like to help. I can't see anybody having a hard time because I'm going to help that person.," she said.

 


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