Daily Point of Light # 2944 May 18, 2005

Daily Point of Light Award for
Older Americans Month – May 2005

Mildred McKinney is one of the winners of a special judging of the Daily Point of Light Award being honored this May during Older Americans Month. Recognizing the contributions of older Americans, these awards celebrate 50+ volunteers who are making a difference by giving of their time, talent and experience to meet the critical needs of their communities.

Learn more about 50+ Volunteering.

Mildred McKinney has been an RSVP volunteer for 27 of her 33 volunteering years, serving all 27 at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS) in Spartanburg, SC. She is 88 years young and has a wonderful attitude and spirit, both about her volunteerism and about life. She sees the positive, always, over the negative.

She is fondly referred to as the “Queen of Volunteers” by her Volunteer Site Director, by her co-volunteers, by her RSVP Director and by the doctors, interns, nurses, and all other hospital staff. In the 27 years at the hospital, she has served 21,600 hours, an average of 67 hours per month. Mildred drives to and from the hospital, and her absence on a designated day is a rarity, indeed.

She volunteers at least four days a week, three in the Surgery Waiting Room, one of the busiest places in the hospital, where Mildred serves as the liaison between the physicians and the family members. The doctors, particularly, enjoy Mildred’s dry wit and twinkling eyes and smile. As one doctor stated, “Mrs. McKinney is a bright spot in situations where there are not always bright spots.” While she is highly professional in dealing with family members of sometimes critical or terminal patients, she is always compassionate, helpful and available. We are unable to come up with a number of families/people that Mildred has helped and comforted over 27 years but we are sure it is thousands. Mildred has a talent for being able to size up a situation quickly and make right decisions concerning that situation.

She is very healthy, energetic, and highly capable. She insists that her volunteer activities keep her young and happy. At 88 years, she still enjoys life, a goal we all hope to have at 88.

On her fourth volunteer day, she is at the Information Desk, escorting family members to their destinations. If either of her locations temporarily changes, she “rolls with the punches” as she does many times a day in such a demanding environment. Even though she is a widow on a fixed income, she is made rich by loving, caring and giving heart.