La Grange resident Helen Tiffany, 91, was recognized for 50 years of volunteer service to Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. She is pictured in the center. Pictured with her are Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital executives, from left, Keith Richardson, chief financial officer, Mary Murphy, chief nursing officer, Ed Gervain, chief operating officer, and David L. Crane, chief executive officer, Adventist Midwest Health.
La Grange – The year was 1962. Helen Tiffany’s daughter had been working as a candy striper at Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital when she left to go to boarding school in Switzerland. She suggested her mother volunteer at the hospital while adjusting to her empty nest.
John F. Kennedy was in the White House, the song of the year was “Moon River” by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, and “Lawrence of Arabia” arrived on the big screen. But it doesn’t seem so long ago to Helen Tiffany.
A half century later and after two knee replacements, the 91-year-old La Grange resident finally retired from her volunteer work. She was lauded Wednesday, April 11, at a special recognition celebration as the longest-serving volunteer in the history of Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital.
“Volunteering has been my life, and it’s been a wonderful life,” said Tiffany, the great-grandmother of a baby boy. “My doctors don’t want me to put too much stress on my legs, so I had to retire.”
During her 50 years as an Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital volunteer, Tiffany’s duties varied.
“I have done everything,” Tiffany recalled. “I used to have a cart and I would deliver newspapers to the patients. We folded surgical gowns. Things changed when computers came in, and there was a lot of paper left over. I made many scratch pads.”
Judith Fedder, the hospital’s director of volunteer services, praised Tiffany for her dedication.
“It is difficult to describe in words what Helen’s dedication and commitment over 50 years has meant to our hospital,” Fedder said. “She was always ready to help in any way she could. She was good with the patients and she developed lasting friendships with many employees, and with other volunteers. She will truly be missed.”
Tiffany remembers the friendships most of all.
“My main work was in the materials management department and I made a lot of wonderful friends,” Tiffany said. “We had Christmas parties and got together every Wednesday for lunch in the volunteer room.”
While Tiffany says she will miss volunteering, she is grateful to be able to remain at her home. Her husband died in 1971. She has a daughter who lives in Houston and a son who is a trial attorney in Fort Worth. In addition to her great-grandson, Tiffany is the grandmother of five. She stays in touch with her family in traditional ways, such as the telephone.
“My granddaughter and her husband work for a computer company and they gave me an iPad, but I’m old-fashioned,” she said.
Tiffany said there are no secrets to her being able to remain active for so long except for her “good, healthy habits.”
“I have a garden. I love living in La Grange,” Tiffany said. “I’m truly blessed.”
For information on volunteering, call (708) 245-8100, or visit www.keepingyouwell.com.
Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit www.keepingyouwell.com.
Media contact: Lisa Parro, senior public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health, Lisa.email@example.com; 630-856-2354