Volunteer Spotlight: Millie AlbrightApr 14, 2016
Volunteer Spotlight – Brookwood: Millie Albright
Why did you start volunteering at our hospital?
Well, really, I don’t know! I had a friend that worked with me and she retired before I did. She started volunteering at Brookwood and they were having a luncheon to encourage volunteers to bring people to start volunteering and she invited me. And the next thing I knew I was volunteering. And I’m still there.
How long have you been volunteering at our hospital?
I’m not sure. I think it’s about 25 years or more. It’s a habit now. It got me out of the house and is something to do. I started after I retired.
Everyone’s always amazed that I’m 98 and still getting around and doing the things that I’m doing. But I don’t like not doing things. It’s boring.
How often do you volunteer with us?
When I first started, I went in a couple of days a week. I had to cut back to just one day a week. Now I can only make it in some of the time. I’m 98, so my health isn’t as great as it used to be.
I was put in the hospital around Christmas for congestive heart failure. Of course, Becki came to visit me and several of the others. Several called. The young ladies that we gave the bonnets to called me while I was in.
Several months ago when I went to the cardiologist, she demanded that I stop driving. I didn’t answer her, but I still drive. I live in Calera, so I have to drive a ways when I come to the hospital.
What do you normally do when you volunteer?
I make the baby caps for labor and delivery out of stockinet. I make heart pillows. I make bonnets for cancer patients. I sew them. I make them on a machine. We order the heart pillows and they have a logo on one side. I stich them together and then stuff them. They’re given to patients in the cardiac section of the hospital. Or patients who have surgery. We’ve been doing that for a long time.
One of our volunteers that was president of the auxiliary at that time had gone to one of the meetings and she got the idea from another hospital. So when she came back, we started making them. We’ve been making the pillows for about 20 years, and the bonnets, one of the nurses designed the bonnet and Gwen (the old volunteer assistant) asked if she minded if the volunteer could make them. And that’s how we got started making those. The baby caps, first off we were trying to knit or crochet, but we didn’t have enough people that would do that. And after a few were made the novelty wore off. The stockinet comes in a huge roll, at least 10 yards, and we cut it off in ends and tie it up on one end of it with pink or blue yarn.
We also make mastectomy shirts and they’re made from t-shirts and split it down the front and bind the front with a piece of ribbon, put snaps on it, and decorate it with little bows. We’ve been doing that for years too.
I bring the stockinet home with me to make the baby caps. I make the cancer bonnets at home too. Another volunteer takes the shirts home with her and makes up a packet with everything in it. Different volunteers take the shirts home to sew the ribbon and snaps on the front. I used to do those, but I had to stop because I was doing all the others and didn’t have time.
I like to sew, I was a home ec. major in school. I like to sew and do things with my hands. It keeps me busy. I brought home 2 boxes of the stockinet this week so I could do it.
It makes me feel like I’m doing something useful and doing something that helps someone else.
Are there any stories from your time as a volunteer that have stuck with you?
I’m retired from the telephone company. We had a pioneer organization and we had different projects going and I was always involved with those. I think that it lead me to stay busy and to do things like that.
Why should someone volunteer at a hospital?
Different people volunteer for different reasons. Mainly, I did it because I worked all my life and I was just lost without doing something. I had never given it much thought that it was a hospital, it was just something to do to keep busy and help.