Service doesn't stop as retired Air Force director drives for Meals on Wheels

    Frank Kubecka (left) delivers a meal during his weekly Meals on Wheels route in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.

    It's a Tuesday tradition for Frank Kubecka - and a responsibility he takes seriously.

    "I recognize that I may be the only face they see that day," he says of the 20 people he's delivering to on this particular day.

    Service is nothing new for Frank. He spent 24 years in the Air Force, retiring as United States Space Command's deputy director for logistics.

    Afterwards, he settled in Cedar Rapids with his family - working at Rockwell Collins. During those 14 years, his wife started volunteering with Meals on Wheels through Horizons (819 5th Street SE).

    "I helped her out - particularly in the winter when it's like this," he says. Frank's GMC Sierra pick-up is perfect for tackling the treachery of Iowa roads this time of year. "Thought it was the right thing to do after I retired."

    And so he's done just that for five years - serving meals with a side of conversation to the folks on his route.

    "I try to be as friendly as I can," he says.

    The friendliness is on full display when visiting Dave Pratt on this particular Tuesday. Franks jokes with Dave about the weather.

    "You're gonna have to mow your yard in a couple of weeks," Frank says. Dave lets out a cackle. It's the latest serving from Frank that's especially good for the soul.

    "More friends than anything else," Carol Clark says when describing the relationship between her, Frank, and other Meals on Wheels deliverers. "It's nice to have the company because I get a little lonesome," she laughs.

    A pair of sisters on the route call Frank "a breath of sunshine coming in."

    For Horizons, it's invaluable service. Community health and nutrition director Sofia Mehaffey says Linn County's 31 routes are part of one of the largest Meals on Wheels initiatives in the country.

    "Volunteers like Frank are the backbone of our program," she says.

    The backbone created on Frank's Tuesday route appears set to stay strong for awhile.

    "These people are obviously in need and I have the ability to go ahead and help them out," he says. "As long as I can do that, that's what I intend to do."

    Horizons is holding their annual Lunchbox Fundraiser on March 12-14 along with Elder Services of Iowa City. You can order a $15 lunch - with 50% of the money going to Meals on Wheels services in Linn and Johnson Counties - by filling out these forms.

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