Arnold “Steve” Royalty was diagnosed with cancer a little over two and a half years ago. The doctors located the cancer in his brain; it was localized in a tumor. He had surgery to remove the tumor, but as a result of the surgery, Royalty lost all memory of how to perform the simplest of tasks. He had to relearn most skills and is still subject to occasional seizures. He also tires easily and is aphasic. However, he strives to overcome his physical challenges in an effort to serve others as well as motivating them to action.
Royalty is currently serving his second term as a member of the Green River Area Development District’s Senior Connections’ AmeriCorps program. He volunteers as a reading coach with the Kentucky-Reads AmeriCorps program, also. He knows how it feels to learn to read as an adult, so he feels he can benefit a child who needs assistance learning the same. Though he is involved in many aspects of the community, his primary service site with AmeriCorps is with the Hospice Association. He provides respite to caregivers in need of relief.
Royalty also gives additional time to the Eleventh-Hour Ministry. This program assures that “no one dies alone.” He goes to patient’s homes, hospitals, and nursing homes to be with patients as they are dying. He gives comfort to people who may not have family or friends to be with them at their dying hour. Though they are leaving this earth, the patients still gain comfort from having him by their side.
Steve Royalty makes himself available to assist with any extra project that comes up. He serves the Senior Corps with their in-service providing the additional hands needed to set up and serve those Senior Companions and Foster Grandparents who are a little unsteady on their feet. He is available when the Senior Center finds himself or herself short a driver. He then delivers meals to homebound clients. Though all of this seems quite much for a cancer survivor, that is not all that he does. He has also volunteered for Repair Affair, Pacesetters, and the Tornado 2000 Children’s Christmas party. All of these commitments were in addition to his commitment to the aforementioned AmeriCorps programs.
Owensboro was hit with a tornado last January. Royalty was out in the streets within 15 minutes. He was directing traffic at one of the major intersections until the police came out. He then went to the shelter and spent the night there providing aid and security for the disaster victims. After the initial shock was over, Royalty still worked in the community. He spent three weeks delivering food to the affected neighborhoods in the Emergency Response Vehicles.
Currently, Royalty has taken on another challenge; he is now volunteering as a Long Term Care Ombudsman. He has always had a concern for the elders in his community, and volunteering in this capacity to help to improve the quality of life for area nursing home residents. In addition, he is recruiting volunteers for a pilot project of the Green River Area Development District Area Agency on Aging.