Meet Michael Kanter, Retired Veteran, Part-Time Lighthouse Employee

Although he is technically retired, Michael Kanter’s pursuit of meaning leads him to get up every weekday, hop on the L and walk six blocks to The Chicago Lighthouse where he helps people schedule appointments at Chicagoland Department of Motor Vehicle locations. Currently in his 70s, he has no desire to stop working. “Working at this age gives me purpose,” Michael says. “It keeps me active, and keeps me going.”

Michael’s career journey has taken a few twists and turns, beginning with his service in the U.S. Army where he served as an X-ray technician. Following his time stationed at The Presidio in San Francisco, Michael returned home to Chicago and pursued a career in healthcare as an X-ray tech and later a CAT Scan tech. About four years ago, he joined The Lighthouse, working in the Illinois Tollway Customer Care Center.

Although he started receiving Social Security payments several years ago, Michael dismissed the idea of retirement and sought out something more to give him purpose and fulfillment. “When I wasn’t working, I was jealous to see other people going somewhere,” he says. “I always feel better when I get out of the house in the morning, especially when I go to work.”

In addition to providing purpose, activity, and structure, working at The Lighthouse gives Michael some extra income. Thanks to these extra earnings, he was able to pay off his mortgage on his condominium near Ravenswood. Outside of work, Michael treasures time with his three grandchildren and enjoys walking outdoors in every season.

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