West Georgia Health has honored retired elementary school teacher Gail Walsh as its Volunteer of the Year.
Walsh began volunteering in the library of Florence Hand Home 20 years ago, soon after retiring from her 30 1/2 years of teaching at Rosemont, Unity and Southside elementary schools.
“She’s not the kind of person who can sit around and do nothing,” said her son, Mark Ward, a WGH systems analyst. “She’s very, very active.”
In her 20 years at FHH, Walsh has logged 1,534 hours of volunteer service. She gathers mail, assembles bulletin boards, visits with room-bound residents and leads a small group. On a recent Monday morning, she led a circle of residents in singing hymns and other “oldies but goodies,” such as “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.” They also had a devotional together and shared prayer concerns.
“I started working at Florence Hand Home 20 years ago, and Gail started volunteering here around that very same time,” said Sandra Ross, FHH activities therapist. “She comes every Monday and is so willing to do whatever we need her to do. And for the residents who may be bed-bound in their rooms, she is wonderful about going to spend time to talk and listen with them, to help them write letters, or read or sing to them.”
FHH resident Louise Burlton said she always looks forward to Walsh’s visits to her room.
“She’s so helpful and kind, and I would give her an A plus,” she said. “When she visits, it’s like having a member of your family coming to see you.”
Walsh was chosen as Volunteer of the Year out of the 85 volunteers who are part of the WGH Auxiliary. Last year the group donated a total of 17,233 hours of service to West Georgia Medical Center, Florence Hand Home and Twin Fountains Home.