Power of 9: Hall of Fame volunteers

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - 9News called together women for an extraordinary gathering. Sitting outside the coffee shop and gift store of Baton Rouge General's Bluebonnet Hospital, they talked when rarely they see each other.

You see, the women are super volunteers, having logged thousands of hours of service in separate locations all over BRG's Bluebonnet Hospital, Mid-City Hospital, and Mid-City Physicians Plaza. All have volunteered more than 10 years, at the least!

90-year-old Pauline Parish volunteered since 1992, but logged 12,003 hours before she finally ramped down her house on foot at the Mid-City BRG Gift Shop. She said, "I met someone that volunteered and she said it's a good thing to do." She never regretted it.

Dotty Major is a statuesque pretty women even at age 89. She worked for 18 years at Sears in retail and said "I did not want the gift shop!" about when she started volunteering, "I had been in retail and didn't want that anymore!" The ladies sitting around the café tables all laughed.

Dotty's mother had started working at BRG's gift shop in Mid-City in 1965. "That was when they had the cigar box, instead of the computer and the registers," Dotty laughed.

Baton Rouge General calls them the Hall of Fame volunteers. Together they have 63-thousand hours of volunteer service

Gloria Anderson had 10, 291 hours. Angie Landry worked 5,319 hours. Dotty Major logged 6,376 hours as a Physicians Plaza and Hospital information desk lady. Dee McKnight worked 10,460 hours. Patsy Miller worked at Bluebonnet BRG 6,305 hours. Natalie Roumain had been an executive with Capital Bank and later Regions Bank. She had worked on the BRG Board in different roles when she longed for closer contact with the people served by BRG. She worked mainly in the Mid-City Hospitals Gift Shop for 5,772 hours. And Dorothy Taylor worked 6,204 in Mid-City's Surgery waiting area.

Donna Britt asked if looking like a grandmother helped or hurt their rapport with hospital guests. All agreed it greatly helped. There's something comforting about their friendly way, and the warm glow they add in a sterile environment. They add a reassuring presence. Natalie Roumain points out that the gift shops they man for the hospital earn somewhere between $200,000 to $250,000 that the hospital may use for equipment and other non-budgeted programs.

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