BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - When Mike Graham retired from WAFB News 10 years ago, he had worked on Baton Rouge television for more than 40 years and now, he and his wife, Gloria, are receiving our Power of 9 volunteer award for what they do as a dynamic duo.
Mike and Gloria Graham are gracious hosts. At home, they're like peas in a pod after being married more than 50 years. Plus, there's the dog, "Ginger."
"All the animals we've ever had have bonded to Gloria, but this one chose me," Mike said. "I'm her person."
Volunteering, they may be running six different ways. They volunteer at sorting all the donations received by the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.
"Check for dates and dents," Gloria said. "Some dents are acceptable."
"We don't know when this was packed," Mike added.
Classified in stacks by the volunteers, the food bank can better access what's needed at any moment. On any given day, at any moment, Mike could look tired. He works full-time on the night shift as a dispatcher at the Baton Rouge Police Department.
Dealing with fatigue is a continuing thing for Mike. But, he loves volunteering so much that he will nap twice a day to make it work.
"If I pace myself right, it works out well. I work from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., and come home and nap for two or three hours, then I'm good for a while," Mike explained.
Gloria has been a volunteer in the health realm for so long that she's already moved from establishing fitness programs to fighting cancers and other terminal illnesses and brightening hospitals.
"Attitude was everything. Laughter was the greatest medication in the world," she said.
She clowned at both OLOL and BRG and had one favorite character.
"I always admired Carol Burnett. I did silly magic out of a bucket. I pulled that out and said, 'I wanted to see if you could use another hand.' He cracked up," Gloria explained.
In recent years, Gloria has become a kind of Boots and Coots volunteer.
"People come to me and tell me things that are needed," Gloria said.
That sort of freelance helping should keep them very busy for a while.
Capital One Bank, the United Way's volunteer center and WAFB are proud sponsors of the Power of 9 volunteer awards.