90-year-old volunteer continues helping at Naples Senior Center

Reporter: Lindsey Sablan Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

A 90-year-old Naples woman continues to spend every day helping others.

Dorrie Karnis is one member of a small local army helping to bag and deliver hot meals and groceries every Wednesday to 50 seniors stuck at home because of the pandemic. She’s been volunteering at the Naples Senior Center since its doors opened in 2014.

“My husband had just died,” Karnis said. “I didn’t want to be a couch potato, so I found the place and I’ve been there ever since.”

She serves lunch and volunteers in the art and dementia respite programs offered to our older population.

“When you’ve lived this long, you feel that you have to give of yourself,” Karnis said.

At 90, she’s seen it all; love and death.

“I got married to Arthur after my first husband of 42 years died, so he always called me his queen,” Karnis said. “He was Arthur, and he was king.”

Indeed, everyone calls her “Queen Dorrie”; she’s even got the title on her mask to prove it. Her long lifetime of experiences is how she bonds with the people she serves.

“My wife passed away last year. We were married for 50 years and it’s hard to believe how lonely you are when that happens,” said Jack Wenson. He’s one of the seniors who rely on Karnis’ deliveries every week.

“These people really saved my life,” Wenson said.

Even socially distant, food is still bringing people together, even if they’re only breaking bread at the doorstep.

“I enjoy working,” Karnis said. “I enjoy delivering this.”

“Queen Dorrie” plans on giving back for a while longer – she says she’ll retire at 103.

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