Since January 1997 Kenneth Slaughter has volunteered at Mississippi Methodist Rehabilitation Center where patients deal with the effects of stroke, spinal cord injury, and traumatic brain injury. His actions are a shining example of the true spirit of volunteerism, sharing his time and talents to improve the quality of life for patients whose lives have been altered by severe injury or illness. He has brightened the lives of many during the four years he has volunteered there.
Each week Slaughter makes patients’ days better by helping them with meals, pushing wheelchair patients to their therapy sessions, delivering mail and newspapers, celebrating birthdays with patients, visiting, reading, delivering magazines and writing letters for patients. He makes personal connections with patients and keeps up with them, sometimes even after they leave the hospital.
The patient’s needs at the hospital are unique in that patients are there for extended periods to receive therapy. Sometimes they are far from home and family and especially need to know that someone cares for them personally, which Slaughter does. When helping a patient eat he shows with words and body language that it is his privilege to help with this most basic of human needs. It is very hard to receive help sometimes, and a kind, loving person can help that patient see how valuable they are.
Not only does Slaughter directly assist patients, he also does clerical work for staff members so that they can have extra time to spend with patients. He helps with book sales within the hospital to raise funds for the Patient Care Fund, which provides for patients who need financial help. He directs and produces a Satisfaction Survey every six months to get responses about how patients perceive their care at the hospital. He assembles Admission Packets, files, answers the telephone, and runs errands within the hospital. He uses the techniques he used as a college professor, now retired, to motivate patients to go the extra mile in therapy, and helps them see that if they truly want to get better, this is where improvement begins. He does not see any job as insignificant or difficult, he just sees them as necessary to help the staff and patients and performs each task gladly.
Slaughter’s work is not always acknowledged because his deeds of kindness are quietly given. He provides transportation to the bank, post office and other necessary destinations for a disabled individual every week. He delivers meals to shut-ins on a weekly basis. He is actively involved in his local church. He is active in the community and volunteered his services at the Palaces of St. Petersburg event held in Jackson.