Highlighting an Extraordinary Group of Volunteers

Submitted by Robert Miranda on Mon, 05/31/2021 - 10:00 AM
Virtual Tech Mentors

Meet the crew of Tuesday afternoon's Virtual Tech Help. This group was one of the first teams to share their knowledge on a virtual platform through SJPL. Every Tuesday at 1 PM, Fred, Rick and Tony, assist members of the public with their digital questions. They are highly skilled, savvy, and will do their utmost to help you overcome those computer problems. Best of all their advice is totally FREE!

These are the skilled and patient virtual volunteers who await your computer and tech challenges every Tuesday afternoon.

Fred OLeary

Photo of Fred OLeary

Fred volunteers as a Tech Mentor at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library and as a public health volunteer at a San José COVID vaccine distribution center. He is sharp, analytical and always searching for the best route to gain his customers understanding.

A chat with Fred:

As a child... I enjoyed a yearly seaside vacation with my family to a small English town in New Zealand destroyed by earthquake in the 30's and rebuilt in classical art deco style.

My first job... I was 12 years old and got a job at a bookstore delivering books by bike, around town. The pay was terrible, the job was hilarious. It was like an American sitcom or the British series Are You Being Served?... Gossip and bickering abounded. The owner, aged 92, was the "young" Mr. Bennet. He came in at 10 and left at 11. I worked with someone in charge of shipping. If he didn't like the customer, the item was designated for delayed arrival. With my salary, I purchased a very good backpack for my hiking expeditions with the Boy Scouts.

My role-model... a teacher that I had during my last years in school who really liked kids and made physics and applied math interesting.

I volunteer... because I am happy to help and do some good for those who do not have access to resources. I volunteer at the COVID vaccination clinic to get rid of this.

Rick Spalding

Photo of Rick Spalding

Rick serves as a Tech mentor at King Library and Joyce Ellington. He is experienced, knowledgeable, thoughtful, and kind. Rick listens to his customers, reflects and then responds, tailoring his explanation to the understanding of the person he is helping.

A chat with Rick:

My fondest memory... when I bought my first house and rolled my garbage cans out in the evening, I was amazed that in the morning, the garbage collectors had come and had taken my garbage away. It was then that I had a true appreciation of my taxes at work.

I am most proud of... being able to retire when I did. Over the years, I put myself in a situation where I could retire at 53. I've been retired for 3 years now and have absolutely no regrets about leaving the work world.

If I had a superpower... I'd be a super doctor who could diagnose and cure those in need.

I volunteer... to keep myself engaged. I enjoy helping when I can. People appreciate the help that I am offering. It is a useful way to spend one's time.

Tony Loeb

Photo of Tony Loeb

Tony is a very active volunteer at SJPL. He serves as a Virtual Tech Mentor, a Plant Patents Manager at SJPL Works, and has volunteered both virtually and in person for LocalLit Productions, for the past 4 years and counting. He is a smart, skilled and committed. When Tony says he will, he does!

A chat with Tony:

I am most proud of... making it to 78 and the fact that my wife and I did a great job of raising kids who became successful and independent adults.

My role model... - late in my life - my manager at Palm/HP. I was such a difficult employee that I made him a great manager.

Libraries are... The first time I walked into King Library for my interview with Javier for SJPL Works, I was wowed. This is the nicest library I have ever been in. In Chicago, I was used to small libraries with dark, dark interiors. The people who work at King are a lot nicer than what I had experienced growing up. This Library is totally different. I was blown away by all of the services.

My favorite book, movie, or song... The Frogmen, about Navy frogmen in WWII. I saw it in a movie theater when I was 7 or 8 years old. I loved it so much that I sat through the second showing. My mother, frantic that I had not returned home, came to the theater, and hauled me out. I saw the film again recently and loved it still. Favorite song: Man in Black sung and written by Jonny Cash.

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