SYSK: Zinetta Eckerman still volunteering at 98 years old - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

SYSK: Zinetta Eckerman still volunteering at 98 years old


Zinetta Eckerman is one of 700 volunteers for Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare. She holds the title of oldest volunteer, but she doesn't feel or look it.

Zinetta Eckerman is part of a sewing group that meets once a week to make items for Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo.

"We meet every Friday, and I say it's my best day of the week," said Zinetta Eckerman.

Eckerman grew up sewing.

"There were three girls in the family and we made a lot of our own clothes, doll clothes," she said.

Eckerman turns 98 in May. She's originally from Cresco and now lives at Ridgeway Place in Waterloo.

She and other volunteers sew surgical caps for children. The Covenant Auxiliary pays for all the material. The group has made almost 5,000 caps.

"The child gets to choose the cap they like and then we take a picture of them and they get to keep the picture and they also get to take the cap home," said Wheaton Franciscan Volunteer Coordinator Bev Degenhardt.

Scrap material from the caps has helped make about 50 quilts, and 40 of those were made by Zinetta.

"It's fun, and I have to have something to do. I'm not gonna just sit," she said.

Besides sewing, Zinetta also tends a garden at Ridgeway Place. She's known for growing about 15 tomato plants.

"Zinetta is an inspiration. People that know her know that she's making it to 98 because of her active lifestyle," said Degenhardt.

Once the weather warms up. Zinetta plans to spend a lot of time in the garden, except for Fridays when she's sewing.

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