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The Lakelander: Hospital volunteer honored by Congressman

Since 1995, Ruth Bird has volunteered her time assisting visitors and patients at Lake Whitney Medical Center. At 92, she is showing no signs of slowing down in her volunteer work.

Her efforts were recognized in a big way this month when she was named Volunteer of the Year at the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program's (RSVP) annual recognition event.

During a June 4 ceremony at the Deering Community Center in Waco, 978 individuals were recognized for their work in the six-county Heart of Texas region. Of the many honorees, Ms. Bird emerged as an individual who has gone above and beyond to meet the needs of the community during her years of service.

According to RSVP, she has worked over 7,000 hours as a volunteer at the hospital, mostly in the gift shop, although she often greets visitors and assists patients.

"I'm not a sitting person," Ms. Bird said, adding that she still mows her own yard, washes her car, takes care of her house and works out to Richard Simmons videos three times a week at McCown Valley Community Center.

"That's what keeps me on my feet," she said.

With revenue from the gift shop, Ms. Bird and the Lake Whitney Medical Center Auxiliary earned enough to purchase a new ambulance and kitchen supplies for the hospital

"We are so proud of her and appreciate the work she does," said Lake Whitney Medical Center Administrator Ruth Ann Crow.

Congressman Bill Flores was on hand to honor her with a certificate and medal of merit and thank her for dedicating so much time to the community. While she feels she didn't really need the award or recognition, she says she did enjoy meeting Mr. Flores.

Standing in the gift shop during last Friday's shift, Ms. Bird said she has no plans to stop volunteering and will continue to work at the hospital as long as she can.

The 978 volunteers recognized at the event gave over 116,000 hours of service in the past year, saving Central Texas taxpayers more than $2.5 million dollars.

RSVP is funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Texas Department on Aging and Disability Services and locally sponsored by McLennan Community College.

To read the full article, click here.