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Helping hands at the Ronald McDonald House

Modesty and a good heart. Carl Pommer of North Syracuse, 81, has been doing good deeds for families in need for more than 15 years.

"He's one of those quiet unassuming people," said Beth Trunfio, the director of Ronald McDonald House. "And he's modest in his volunteering."

His giving outlook on life makes staff such as Trunfio laugh about the "thorny attitude" he tries to pull off.

"If you ask, 'how are you Carl?'" Trunfio said. "He will always reply, 'I'm terrible,'"

Pommer's understated humor gained him the nickname, "I'm terrible," according to Trunfio.

The Ronald McDonald House hosted a private appreciation dinner for volunteers Thursday evening April 30 on the second floor of Coleman's in Syracuse.

Pommer was unaware that he would be singled out because Trunfio and the other staff and volunteers knew he would not attend if he was being honored.

Although Pommer retired from the Air Force as a senior master sergeant in 1983, he continued to help the force at Hancock Airfield by volunteering as a civilian.

He laughed as he remembered the coincidental manner in which he became involved with the Ronald McDonald House.

"A number of civilian retirees got together each Christmas to exchanges gifts," Pommer said during the dinner. "Finally someone said, 'why are we doing this?'"

One of his friends suggested that the group donate the gifts to the Ronald McDonald House because there were others that needed the items more than them.

"I had no idea what they were talking about," Pommer said. "But it sounded like a good idea."

Pommer has shown subtle ways in helping people around him. Trunfio described gestures such as bringing a special pudding to a boy who was scheduled to have surgery because of difficulty he had when eating solid foods.

Another time, Pommer overheard that no one volunteered to help with Easter dinner at the house, so he showed up bright and early and made a ham for all the families that attended before he was on his way to be with friends and family for the holiday himself.

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