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      UPSIDER: Rod Aho of Harvey

      The Jacobetti Home For Veterans in Marquette has hundreds of volunteers who donate their time daily. But not many are quite like Rod Aho. He's logged over 5,000 volunteer hours at the facility so far and he always does it with a smile.

      Rod is a Marine Corps veteran himself, so for the last dozen years, he's made spending time with the Jacobetti vets his full-time job.

      "We're all veterans," explained Aho. "We all have something in common so when we do talk, mostly these guys are World War II vets, so when they talk to you, they're talking to another veteran and they can communicate with you."

      Rod uses humor to lift the spirits of the vets. He spends between 30 and 40 hours a week at Jacobetti, and staff members say it's instant smiles whenever he walks through the door.

      "Oh they love Rod!" exclaimed Activity Coordinator Gail Landtroop. "They look forward to him and he jokes and laughs. They really like him."

      Rod helps out with a lot of activities, like cooking and painting classes, Bingo, and coffee hour. "And he even comes in on weekends and holidays for special events like festivals and picnics."

      Rod says it's the friendships and special bonds he's made that keep him coming back.

      "Most of the guys that come down to Bingo, you know them," Rod recalled. "Guys that come down to coffee, you know them. Yeah, it turns into they're like part of your family and you're part of their family."