I like to give practical help to people, and if there’s one thing people appreciate, it’s having somebody help them work through a complex and often perplexing tax system.
Ron grew up in St. Louis and attended the University of Cincinnati where he received a degree in electrical engineering. He also met his wife Marty there. They have two adult sons, five grandchildren, and very shortly, one great grandchild. After graduating, Ron worked for Westinghouse, Honeywell and Community Health Computing in marketing and sales. As it turns out, engineers like to speak with engineers, and most of the sales force for these companies is comprised of trained engineers. When asked why he moved to Texas, Ron quickly responds: "I got here as fast as I could." Ron is a skilled woodworker and a master gardener. In fact, Ron volunteered for a garden hotline answering questions about gardening and horticulture for the county for ten years. Marty will join him on the cruise.
Ron volunteers with an organization called the AARP Tax-Aide Program. Actually, he runs it for the states of Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado, and it's a big job. Tax-Aide is a national program, and it helps low and middle income families prepare and submit their taxes. They sit down one-on-one with their ‘clients' at libraries, churches, senior centers, and colleges and prepare the taxes onsite. When clients leave, they have their taxes done and all the required forms in their hands. For most people, this takes about 30-45 minutes, but periodically it can run several hours. One person, one certified tax prepared, and the job done on the spot.
While Ron has helped many hundreds of people personally, his talents were quickly recognized and the reward for his good work was to get more work. As regional coordinator for three states, Ron makes sure all volunteers are properly trained and certified. He makes sure they have places to provide these free tax services. And he travels regularly to regional meetings and national events to make sure they are ready each year. Overall, they serve about 1.5 million people each year. Says Ron: "If I didn't do this, I would do something else to help out. Maybe it's the engineer in me, but I like solving practical problems that frustrate others, and people truly appreciate the help."