Medical School student David Lee remembered watching his
grandfather struggling to shovel 10 inches of snow last winter.
Seeing that, Lee was inspired to do something to help senior
citizens struggling through another cold winter.
For the past two months, Lee, and many of his Medical School
colleagues, known as the Medshovelers, have been devoting their
precious time to helping senior citizens clear their driveways of
In all, there are more than 70 volunteers divided into eight
Each group is assigned the house of a senior citizen, and every
time there is a snow accumulation of more than two inches team
leaders rally their members to shovel the driveways and walkways
outside the senior’s home.
Lee said he made the groups large as everybody cannot show up
each time, and this way if even a few people show up then the job
is still relatively easy.
Joel Escobedo, a University Medical School student and
Medshoveler, said it is “very rewarding to help people who by
shoveling would have put themselves in danger for falls,
hypothermia, and other related illnesses.”
“Ultimately, the hope is to prevent snow-related injuries
among the elderly” Lee said.
The response has been overwhelming. Medshovelers receive many
telephone calls and e-mail requests from senior citizens for
shoveling Lee said.
He added that there are more than 20 seniors who have asked for
help but cannot receive it since the group does not have the
necessary resources in terms of shovels and manpower to meet the
“I like it, they’re great” said Don Zellar,
76, a senior who has been helped by this group. “They did as
good of a job that anybody can do, and not only did the front side
of my house but also did the backside for me.”
Escobedo said he joined the organization because it was a great
way to help seniors and at the same time be somewhat related to the
“By shoveling their driveways and walkways we might
indirectly prevent unnecessary visits to the doctor,” he
Jonie Hsiao, a Medical School student and volunteer, said she
joined the organization because she was interested in helping the
She added that in the fall she had helped rake leaves for the
But she said she thought that snow shoveling would be more
appropriate for students because “it takes much more brute
force and energy.”
She said that when she went to college in Baltimore she would
hear on the news that many seniors died of heart attacks because of
the strain caused by snow shoveling.