Bernie Angerer '54 hasn't quite grown into the title of Mr. Angerer.
"Mr. sounds so old, kind of like ‘Sir,'" he said, "and I'm not there yet. "
Give him time. He's only 82 years young.
Several years ago, Angerer joined the New Pathways for Youth program in Phoenix as a volunteer mentor for troubled youth. For his service, Angerer last spring received the Senior Star Award, a Phoenix-area-wide honor that included a $2,000 grant for the program.
Program mentors act as role models, he said. "All the kids are here because they want to make a change in their life," he said. "There are no bad kids, just kids that make bad choices.
"We get so much more out if it than we put into it," Angerer added. "Being here has given me a new purpose in life."
Angerer retired last January from an entrepreneurial career that included manufacturing go-karts, selling real estate and jewelry and, for the previous 35 years, designing and building furniture and working as an interior designer.
"It has been a satisfying life," said Angerer, who earned his high school degree from the St. Ambrose Academy in 1947. "But the most rewarding thing to me has been my involvement with youth at risk."
Angerer's best moments are spent with the young men he mentors. He and his first assigned youth, Obed (at left in photo), have a 64-year age difference but, "we really are best friends."
He started mentoring the boy in his 8th grade year and he recently helped move the teenager into his new dorm at Arizona State University, where Obed will major in astrophysics.