On an unseasonably mild winter day in Carson City, Randy Gaa wheeled his bike up to the motel where Richard Dilley resides. Gaa, founder of the new Meals on Two Wheels program, towed a wire trailer with an insulated box containing lunch for Dilley.
Meals on Two Wheels is the brainchild of Muscle Powered’s Gaa, who’s actively recruiting additional volunteers for the program, a complement to the Carson Senior Center’s Meals on Wheels operation, which provides nourishing hot meals to homebound seniors.
Dilley was appreciative not only of the hot meal, but also of the opportunity to visit with Gaa.
“I like to make a connection with the clients, and learn about their lives,” Gaa said.
And what a story it was.
“I’m descended from an Irish princess and an English duke,” Dilley said, proudly displaying a purple crown his daughter Elizabeth had given him, along with a bobble head figurine of Queen Elizabeth II. “I’m known as King Richard the Fourth, and I’m related to Queen Elizabeth.”
Proud of his royal heritage, Dilley, a widower, said he’s also proud of his family, which includes four children and 48 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A Carson City resident since he retired in 1986, Dilley is confined to a wheelchair since breaking his hip while “fast dancing with three girls,” as he told it. He grew up in Illinois where his father ran the Bank of Alito, Ill.
“My dad helped the farmers and local businesses, and I grew up wanting to help people too,” Dilley said.
He said he served in the Army from 1949-1952, rising to the rank of captain in the Quartermaster Corps. He was stationed in Europe during the post-war occupation, in charge of 50 German personnel responsible for supplying occupation troops and the German populace. He said his military records were lost in a fire at a records repository in Texas, and as a result, he’s unable to receive veterans’ benefits.
After his Army service, Dilley became a general contractor, first in Illinois and then in Florida. He said he tried to help people whenever he could, assisting at least two families in keeping their properties when they were about to lose them. He said he now receives help from the USDA Rural Housing department, which pays for about half the monthly cost of his room.
Dilley said he’s grateful for Meals on Wheels, which provides food Monday through Friday.
“I like the Meals on Wheels people, because they’re reliable, respectful, and they have good food,” he said.
Volunteers like Gaa also provide companionship and show an interest in their clients’ lives. Which, when you’re as colorful as Dillie, is a good thing.
For information on Meals on Two Wheels, email Gaa at email@example.com. For information on Meals on Wheels, email Courtney Warner at CWarner@carson.org, or call the center at 775-883-0703. The Carson City Senior Center is at 911 Beverly Drive in Carson City.