Forrest “Frosty” Frost, 96, has a warm heart for people in need

Forrest Frost, 96, loads meals for delivery on a recent Thursday morning at the Veterans Memorial Building in Pismo Beach. He volunteers for Five Cities Meals on Wheels.
Forrest Frost, 96, loads meals for delivery on a recent Thursday morning at the Veterans Memorial Building in Pismo Beach. He volunteers for Five Cities Meals on Wheels. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Five mornings a week — with the exception of vacations and holidays — Forrest “Frosty” Frost, 96, starts his work day around 8:45 a.m., loading up the back seat of one of his three cars with food for homebound clients of Five Cities Meals on Wheels.

He spends the next couple of hours driving his route, averaging 20 stops per day. Tuesdays and Thursdays, he’s in Grover Beach; Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays, he delivers to Arroyo Grande. He used to walk the meals directly to clients’ doors; now a volunteer “runner” accompanies him and does that part of the job.

Frosty’s been a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels for 12 years, and he has no plans to retire.

That’s good news to his colleagues.

“Every single one of us is thankful for him,” said Susan Brenner, executive director of Meals on Wheels.

Brenner, who was overseeing the distribution of meals to volunteer drivers, had many more good things to say about Frosty — when he would let her.

“Cut it out!” he told her at one point, in a failed effort to ward off another compliment.

A retired superintendent with Shell Oil in Bakersfield, Frosty was always involved in community activities. But his volunteer career began in earnest 12 years ago, after the death of Mary, his wife of 62 years.

“My wife died, and I decided I wasn’t going to sit around and watch television.”

In other words, he wasn’t about to turn into a couch potato.

He kept that vow; Frosty has so many volunteer activities that there’s little time for TV, and when he does have a spare hour or two, he usually reads. (He reads a little of everything, he says.)

In addition to driving for Meals on Wheels, Frosty, a resident of Grover Beach, regularly volunteers as cashier at the Elks Lodge in Oceano.

“He is the ‘young man’ selling tickets every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, and most of the time, without benefit of a calculator. (It’s in his head!),” his daughter, Connie Wood, told us via email.

Frosty, who served in the Navy during World War II, also is a champion of veterans. He belongs to Welcome Home Heroes, and whenever he can, he greets returning veterans arriving at the airport or train station.

He’s got a soft spot for kids, as well; he was wearing a Toys for Tots lapel pin the day we interviewed him.

While he’s modest and matter-of-fact about his volunteerism, Frosty’s work hasn’t gone completely unnoticed.

Among other accolades, he’s been named Volunteer of the Year by the Area Agency on Aging, and he was invited to participate in a Central Coast Honor Flight, which transports veterans to Washington, D.C., where they visit war memorials and other monuments in recognition of their heroic service.

We hope he’s up for at least one more honor.

It might earn us a “cut it out,” but to demonstrate our admiration of a volunteer who never stops giving, The Tribune is proud to honor Forrest “Frosty” Frost as an unsung hero.

How to help

Five Cities Meals on Wheels has been operating in the South County since 1975, delivering hot meals to homebound seniors and disabled residents. It charges a small stipend for meals, but it also depends on community donations. For information about volunteering or donating, call 805-773-2053. Donations also can be mailed to Five Cities Meals on Wheels, P.O. Box 156, Pismo Beach, CA 93448.

Unsung Hero series

Although The Tribune seeks to celebrate our community’s quiet heroes throughout the year, it’s especially appropriate during the holidays, when we pause to give thanks, gather with friends and family, and share the warmth and light that brightens our lives.

Unsung heroes are people who practice the Golden Rule and are passionate about their causes but seek no return for their actions other than the satisfaction that comes with helping others.

By highlighting individuals who unselfishly apply their energy and skills to lighten the burden of others, we hope, first, to offer these community heroes the appreciation they deserve; second, to let those who could use the help know of available resources; and, third, to inspire others who are able to help in whatever way they can.