A family affair

Sue Kraft
Axtman, now 17, and Hatten teamed up last week to volunteer at the Senior Center's pie and ice cream social and still deliver meals together when possible.

Danica Axtman was just four years old when she helped deliver her first meal for the Devils Lake Senior Meals program with her grandfather Larry Hatten.

Axtman is now 17 and a senior at Devils Lake High School — but she still volunteers at the Senior Center when she's needed.

“It's a nice thing to do, and they appreciate it,” she said.

Kim Hatten, Services Coordinator at Senior Meals and Services, said her father began volunteering when she accepted the job in 1999.

Her niece Danica was preschool age and often accompanied Hatten and fellow volunteer Dr. Vernon Otis.

“She was still in a car seat,” Hatten said, “so Dad and Vern had one hot meal, one cold sack and one child to buckle and unbuckle at each stop.”

Hatten said when the youngster became school age, she worried about the residents on the route.

“When Danica was to start kindergarten she was so concerned about the clients on her route that she expected grandpa to come and get her from school just to deliver meals,” she said.

Axtman said she remembers carrying the food to the residents and she fondly remembers one lady who always had a treat ready for her.

Axtman is active in volleyball at Devils Lake High School and is also a dancer with the Devils Lake Dazzlers. She doesn't volunteer as much anymore, but is always ready when her aunt Kim asks for help.

Last Tuesday she helped to serve pie and ice cream to over 100 guests at a Senior Center event, right alongside her grandfather.

“I think it has been a great bonding time for her and her grandpa,” said Kim. “Volunteering at the Senior Center truly is a family affair.”