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Everday Hero: Spain native helps elderly during year-long visit to area

Spain native Iñaki Monge volunteers with the Council on Aging in Vidalia to help feed senior citizens. Monge arrived to the area in September and began helping the non-profit organization shortly after. (Devonte Demby / The Natchez Democrat)

Spain native Iñaki Monge volunteers with the Council on Aging in Vidalia to help feed senior citizens. Monge arrived to the area in September and began helping the non-profit organization shortly after. (Devonte Demby / The Natchez Democrat)

VIDALIA — Spain native Iñaki Monge spends his time helping the elderly while he discovers America.

Monge, who has traveled to America with his wife, Pepa, and son, Unai, 4, volunteers with the Concordia Council on Aging in Vidalia to give back to the elderly.

Monge’s wife, Pepa, is currently teaching Spanish through a teaching program from Spain at Vidalia Junior High School and Vidalia Lower Elementary for one year.

“Because my wife is working, I can’t stay in the house all day,” Monge said with laughter. “I felt this was a good place to spend some hours and help the elderly, while improving my English. I can learn many things from these people.”

Monge and his family arrived to the area in late September. They currently reside in Natchez.

Although Monge is helping the elderly by preparing food, setting tables and keeping them company by playing cards, he said the elderly are helping him in return.

“They explain to me about the life in this country, this place, and they have a lot of experience from living here,” Monge said. “When they want to speak, I am there to listen.”

Concordia Council on Aging is a non-profit organization that feeds senior citizens five days a week.

Manager Marjorie Bowman said Monge works well with the elderly who visit the organization seeking a meal.

“We all enjoy him and love him,” Bowman said. “He has that touch of love that was with him when he arrived, he didn’t learn it here.”

Although Monge said he and his family would return to Spain once his wife’s tenure is up at the schools, he has enjoyed his time here thus far.

“It’s a special place for me,” Monge said. “When I’m here with the elderly, I’m happy.”

Monge teaches high school and college in Spain, a career he will pick back up once he returns home.