Brian Klusener, Pittsburg, notices details, and it’s a good thing he does. He has probably saved more than one life that way.

Brian Klusener, Pittsburg, notices details, and it’s a good thing he does. He has probably saved more than one life that way.
Most recently, Kusener, who delivers meals for Senior Services of Southeast Kansas., Inc., noticed that smoke alarms were going off in the home of meal recipient Sally Carleton.
“I didn’t see or smell anything, and I thought it was probably just the batteries,” he said.
Just to be on the safe side, he went next door, to the home of Carleton’s daughter, Pat McMichael, and told her about the beeping. When she investigated, she found that the damper had been closed on her mother’s gas fireplace and gas was at dangerous levels in the home.
“Brian at least saved my mother a trip to the hospital,” McMichael said.
She added that this wasn’t the first time Klusener had alerted her to possible problems with her mother, who will be 90 in April.
“Brian has really gone above and beyond for her, and we really want to thank him,” McMichael said. “He came over one time to tell us that Mom had fallen, and another time when she had an upset stomach. She’s a very independent person, and won’t call us herself.”
Carleton is now at Carrington Residential Care Center while her home is being cleaned.
“There was soot everywhere,” McMichael said. “Everything is being cleaned up, and then Mom will be able to go back home.”
Klusener, who moved to Pittsburg from Maize, said he’s been delivering meals for about five years.
“It started as a part-time job while I was finishing my degree,” he said.  “I was a computer programmer for 30 years, then I decided I should get my degree and started attending Friends University, Wichita.”
Then his wife, Laura, got a job at Mt. Carmel Regional Medical Center.
“She’s an occupational therapist by training, and is director of outpatient rehab,” Klusener said. “She’s a very smart woman.”
He got into the Friends University distance program, which met once a week at Labette Community College, Parsons.
“I finished my degree in business management in a year, but by that time, I’d gotten hooked on this,” Klusener said.
He explained that Senior Services of Southeast Kansas provides around 13,000 meals a month to senior citizens.
“The meals are prepared at the Homer Cole Community Center,” Klusener said. “They’re delivered from Riverton to Fort Scott, and around Arma, McCune, Cherokee, Columbus and Baxter Springs, both to congregate meal sites and to private homes. We have three drivers who deliver out of town, and two in town.”
He does Pittsburg meal deliveries three days a week, and also works in the kitchen.
“I do a lot of dishes every day,” he said.
Klusener always tries to make contact with meal recipients, though some don’t always answer the door when he comes.
“If I know their routines, or even their pets’ routines, I can tell if something might be wrong,” Klusener said. “I’ve picked people up off the floor, and found one or two people who’ve had strokes. The way I found one man who’d had a stroke was because his dog was acting different.”
He said he got into the habit of watching out for people during his years of serving as a Boy Scout leader while his sons were small. Will Klusener now works for the Manhattan Mercury, and Andrew Klusener is a commercial art major at Pittsburg State University.
Klusener, normally a good-natured man, becomes disturbed at the idea that the state of Kansas might cut funding for the meal program.
“It’s really wrong for them to cut funding for these people,” he said. “On my route, I serve a lot of veterans, people who served their country during World War II in Japan, North Africa and the Battle of the Bulge. Some of the people I deliver meals to may not see anybody else during the day. For some of them, this will be the only food they eat for the day.”