When Greg and Sue Wetzel began volunteering for Make-a-Wish a dozen or so years ago, it was "something to do." But after granting wishes for dozens of families over the years, Sue calls it "the most rewarding thing I've ever done in my life."

When Greg and Sue Wetzel began volunteering for Make-a-Wish a dozen or so years ago, it was "something to do." But after granting wishes for dozens of families over the years, Sue calls it "the most rewarding thing I've ever done in my life."

"I get more out of it than we give to it," Greg said.

The Hilliard couple were named volunteers of the year for the Central Ohio region of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

"Their outstanding commitment to our mission is an inspiration to volunteers both old and new," regional executive director Tim McCarthy said. "Both frequently call in and ask to volunteer for the child who has been waiting the longest, never discriminating because of distance or time."

Sue got involved first, but her husband traveled around Ohio as part of his job, which was an area the Foundation needed volunteers for. Greg signed on a year later.

"That's the neat thing about this," Sue said. "Greg and I are volunteering together. It's easier for us to do it together because we can take our time with the wish child."

According to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, "any child over the age of 2 1/2 and under the age of 18, diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition and has not received a wish from another wish-granting organization qualifies" - regardless of income.

The Wetzels contact families who have been referred to Make-a-Wish. They visit with the parents and the child, determine what the child's top wish is, and send the wish to the foundation to fulfill. The foundation says wishes tend to fall into four categories - somewhere to go, someone to meet, something to have or a something to be.

The Wetzels have helped Make-a-Wish grant wishes such as trips, celebrity meetings, items such as drums or pools, room makeovers, and even specially-trained dogs.

Greg said for more than half the very young children, going to Disney World is the top wish. Sue said that's an easy wish to grant, because people donate their flyer miles and Disney works quickly to grant the wish. However, other wishes take a while, depending on funds and the child's medical condition.

Greg and Sue said they do whatever they can, whether it's delivering a wish, lending a helping hand, throwing a party for a child, or checking in on a shopping spree and asking for an additional gift for the child from the store.

"We try to make our involvement beyond what we need to do," Sue said. "To me, that's the most important thing. If you're going to volunteer, you need to give it your all."

Greg said he enjoys meeting the parents and the children.

"It keeps you well grounded in what's really important. It makes you grateful for the health you and your family do have. It's been a real pleasure to deal with Make-a-Wish. The people there are just exemplary. They do a monumental job."

Make-a-Wish is a nonprofit organization formed in 1980 in Phoenix. There are more than 165 pending wishes in central Ohio. To contribute or volunteer, call 1-877-206-9474 or visit www.makeawishohio.org.