Those familiar, welcoming faces you see when visiting IU Health Arnett Hospital are Jerry and Bette Taylor. The Taylors have been volunteers at the hospital since it opened in 2008.
Jerry greets hospital visitors at the main entrance on Mondays and Wednesdays. Bette supports families waiting for their loved ones having surgery on Wednesdays.
“I like to meet people, and all these families just waiting on their loved ones are so nice,” shares Bette on why she likes to volunteer.
Volunteering is nothing new for the Taylors. Bette volunteered in ambulatory services at Home Hospital for 25 years prior to joining IU Health.
“The girls who were having babies when I started were having grandbabies when I left Home Hospital,” shares Bette.
Bette was a stay-at-home mom who raised the couple’s two daughters and volunteered. She has served in many roles, including 40 years teaching Sunday school. Her house was the place children gathered, often playing games like Hearts and Euchre—even though Bette is not a fan of Hearts.
She believes that God led her to volunteer at the hospital, which has led to so many other blessings. She recalls her parents being attached at the hip so when her father passed, her mother was lost. She asked her fellow volunteers, who were older, to help support her mother who had become a volunteer. Soon a breakfast group was born (1986). The group still meets every Tuesday morning and consists of mostly widowed or divorced individuals who just need to talk. (“Everyone has suffered, and everyone needs someone who cares,” shares Bette.)
Jerry retired in 1995 after 30 years as a service technician for Sears. After a year at home, He needed to do something, so he decided he should volunteer with Bette.
Jerry likes to volunteer as a greeter because he gets to see a lot of people—sometimes it is even someone he knows. He will also deliver mail and flowers to patients.
“I enjoy people,” shares Jerry. “People appreciate what you do—especially when they are lost.”
Jerry, who knows the hospital like the back of his hand, shared the story of a lost visitor: “He had brought his neighbor but could not locate his car, so I took him up to the sixth floor and we looked out the windows. It was a convertible with its top down, which we spotted outside the emergency room entrance. Back on the first floor I escorted him to the correct entrance where his car was parked.”
The couple has been married for 68 years—“we are shooting for 70,” jokes Jerry, who turned 90 in March. Bette is 85. They have four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren who all, luckily, live nearby.
The secret to their longevity is to keep moving. Bette says that will be engraved on their headstones. `
Bette’s advice on volunteering and life in general: “Look for the good in people, and that is what you will find.”
The COVID-19 pandemic kept the couple away from the hospital for nearly two years. But they kept moving by painting the interior of their home, helping their neighbors, doing puzzles and yes, playing Hearts. Both were thrilled when they were allowed to return to their volunteer positions.
“We are so blessed to have Bette and Jerry,” shares Cheryl Suter, manager of volunteer services at IU Health Arnett. “They get as much from their volunteer experience as they give. We are thankful they are part of our team.”
Volunteers are always welcome at IU Health. Positions include the gift shop, in the surgery waiting area and greeters. If you are interested in joining the team, contact Suter at firstname.lastname@example.org.