Though many people in the Pine River and Backus communities are volunteers, few have taken it to the same level as Doris Knott.
Knott drives and provides companionship for Faith in Action.
She leads exercises with the Bone Builders group at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Pine River.
She donates time to the Backus Nazarene Church.
And she still finds time to volunteer and be a board member with the Pine River-Backus Family Center. Her 20 years of volunteer work once also included time at the Whispering Pines Good Samaritan Community and the Pine River Public Library.
“It’s not as much (volunteer time) now as it used to be. It used to be I was on the go all the time,” Knott said. “The only time I had off was when I had something going on at church or something. Then I have to go to church. It would be lots of hours.”
With a passion that obviously centers on helping people, Knott is well appreciated for her work. She was named volunteer of the month at the Backus Nazarene Church this past summer. People who work with her say Knott is devoted to her work.
“Doris is wonderful. She knows a lot of people and she’s always so kind. When she helped in our store she was very reliable and she liked to get things done,” said Karen Bresnahan of the Pine River-Backus Family Center.
Knott was born and raised in Pine River. In her family of 12 siblings, she was the first one born in a hospital. She worked locally throughout her life, toiling at the Pine River Journal office, at home as a mother, at the Cottage Cafe, at the Pine River Bakery, and on to the Good Samaritan home where she worked 23 years.
“There was a girl at the Good Samaritan Home who wanted to go to the bakery and I wanted to go to the Good Samaritan Home, so we switched jobs,” Knott said.
She left the Good Samaritan Home in 1996. It was around that time she began volunteering. She’s been volunteering about 20 years. She has been with the Pine River-Backus Family Center for eight of those years and a board member since she started. She also served as treasurer in the past.
“That was Karen’s fault. She talked me into doing these things. I was perfectly happy being busy with Faith in Action,” Knott said. “She told me that I should come and work in the store (Hidden Jewels in Pine River) there, so that’s what I did. I came and worked in the store as a volunteer, and it was a lot of fun.”
In addition to working with the family center, Knott organized a Bone Builders exercise group for Pine River.
“Backus has a site, Hackensack has two sites, I believe. Longville has a couple and Walker has a couple,” Knott said. “In Pine River it started about eight years ago because I was the one that started it. I was going to Backus, and that’s 10 miles away. I figured there should be enough women and men in Pine River that I’d open one here. So that’s what I did.”
Knott is only one of many talented and devoted volunteers in the area, but she is nonetheless very appreciated.
“She knows most people, but I think they feel she’s kind of like someone you feel like you know once you sit next to her. She’s kind of quiet but you feel like you know her,” Bresnahan said. “Doris has contributed so much to this area. She helps her family a lot. Her family is very important, but it’s like all the neighbors in her community are her family, too. She’s always willing to help.”
This is only a sample what Knott does as a volunteer. She enjoys volunteering and recommends volunteering to anyone who is able.
“I love volunteering. It doesn’t make any difference what it is. I just love to volunteer,” Knott said. “I would say, if anyone can volunteer, go ahead and volunteer because it is really a rewarding thing to do to help another person. Some day you may need help. The ball bounces back in your own court then.”