Committed to Serve: Doris Blackburn Celebrates 30th Anniversary as a Hospital Volunteer
Many in the community know Doris Blackburn for her kindness, dedication, compassion, resilience and sense of humor. Around Mercy Hospital Ada, where she’s been volunteering for 30 years, she’s known for all those qualities and so much more.
“I’ve known Doris for more than 40 years,” said Myrtie Clarke, treasurer of the Mercy Hospital Ada Auxiliary. “She is our gift shop committee chair and is such a positive person, very organized and dedicated to making sure our gift shop is running smoothly.”
During her time as a volunteer, it is her sense of joy and her smiling face that can shine a bright light on dark times for patients, families and hospital co-workers.
“We’ve been so blessed to have a good hospital in Ada all these years,” said Blackburn. “I volunteer because it’s a way for me to give back to the community.”
All four of Blackburn’s children and four of her seven grandchildren were born at the hospital in Ada. Her husband, Bud, also just completed 35 radiation treatments for cancer in his throat at Mercy and is doing well.
“I can’t tell you how important it is to us, especially the older we get, to have the medical care here,” she said. “I’m not wanting to go out of town to a doctor. We’re going to seek our medical care here with Ada doctors and the hospital.”
Support and a Smile
When she first started volunteering after retiring from a 30-year teaching career, she worked in the admitting area of the hospital where she interacted with a lot of patients and families.
A few years ago, she relocated to the gift shop, where she spends her time raising funds to support hospital projects, while also lending an empathetic ear to families dealing with the stress of a loved one in the hospital.
She is also present for the happy times when babies are born and enjoys getting to see former students.
About Mercy‘s Auxiliary
The hospital’s auxiliary began in 1947 and currently features 65 volunteers, 15 teenagers who participate in the Volunteen program and 13 volunteer chaplains. The auxiliary raises money through gift shop sales and fundraisers to purchase equipment and help improve the hospital environment for patients, families and co-workers.
The auxiliary recently purchased lockable chairs for the Behavioral Health Department, chest compression systems to perform CPR, crash carts, cell phone charging stations, security cameras, and laryngoscopes for the Respiratory Therapy Department, among other items.
Volunteers deliver balloons to all patients who have a birthday while in the hospital; give small stuffed animals to pediatric patients in certain areas of the hospital; and provide handmade baby hats to all newborns and Christmas stockings to December babies.
For 85-year-old Blackburn, retirement from her volunteer post is not in the cards anytime soon.
“When I retired I tried my hand at tennis lessons, tole painting and being a volunteer,” said Blackburn. “Being a volunteer was the one that stuck. There are not a lot of things that a person my age can do to feel worthwhile and feel as if we are still contributing. Mercy Hospital Auxiliary provides us with that opportunity to serve.”
To become a volunteer, visit Mercy Hospital Ada’s Auxiliary Department to pick up an application or call 580-421-1466.