By now, Betty Keane could be considered a professional wheelchair driver.
Keane, a retired nurse of 49 years, continues to help patients at Bothwell Regional Health Center by volunteering with the Red Cross. She has volunteered with the organization for eight years and with Bothwell’s auxiliary for 15 years.
Keane pushes wheelchairs, gives directions, delivers flowers and mail to patients, and helps with dismissals.
For her work at the hospital, Keane received the Ida Hoffman Award, honoring her as Red Cross volunteer of the year.
“It’s rewarding being able to help other people,” she said. “I guess I’m like my mother; she needed to be needed.”
Keane, 79, was surprised by the honor.
“I’m not the only one who does it. I just enjoy it,” Keane said of volunteering.
About 90 people gathered at the Hotel Bothwell on Thursday afternoon to honor Red Cross volunteers of Bothwell Regional Health Center. The volunteers received recognition for their hours of service in the past year.
Volunteers worked 11,976 hours at the hospital. Red Cross co-chairwomen Viola Hiatt and Lucy Stone presented Bothwell President John Dawes with a mock check for $149,700, representing the monetary value of the volunteer work.
Several volunteers received lifetime achievement awards for giving 4,000 hours of service to date. Those were Betty Burford, Betty Christal, Mary Pace, Ruby Mark and Viola Hiatt.
Elle Wasson, Sedalia’s first lady, gave the keynote address.
“I can’t think of a group I’d rather be with; I love volunteers,” she said.
Wasson spoke about her own experiences as a volunteer from when she was a Brownie and Girl Scout in grade school to being one of the first women elected to the Green Ridge School Board.
Volunteers are compassionate and enjoy helping others, she said.
“To have you there to say, ‘Can I help you?’ can make a tremendous difference,” Wasson said. “You never know what is going on in a person’s life, and what that kind word can do for them.”
Wasson encouraged the volunteers to share their experiences with children and grandchildren to inspire future generations.