"I find great satisfaction in helping people through the tax process. It’s so gratifying when you see their faces light up."
I find great satisfaction in helping people through the tax process.
It’s so gratifying when you see their faces light up.
Don Spano retired after a career as an engineer in the energy industry in 1995. Since then, he volunteers his time with AARP Tax-Aide, a program that helps low- and middle-income taxpayers prepare their tax returns, free of charge, with special attention to those ages 60 and older.
Don started on the program's front lines, sitting down with folks to make sure their tax returns were being done properly. In the 20 years since, Don has worked his way to State Coordinator, and is now a Regional Coordinator of the AARP Tax-Aide program in his area. He runs seven territories throughout New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
“Preparing income taxes can cost up to $185, which is a lot of money for folks who are struggling,” says Don. “I find great satisfaction in helping people through the process for free. You see their faces light up, and they hug you or bring in baked goods as a thanks. It’s a great feeling.”
Don now oversees 820 tax aide sites and 4,000 volunteers, in addition to continuing to work with people one-on-one with. In the last tax cycle, his region processed 196,000 tax forms.
Don’s wife Jennifer was born in Ireland and her Irish accent lingers to this day. They've been married for 51 years, and have four children and eight grandchildren. Don and Jennifer love to travel, often going back to Ireland to visit with Jennifer’s family. Jennifer is joining Don on the cruise.