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The prestigious Gift of Time award was given to ten people in the Ozarks on Thursday. This award is given to those who sacrifice their time through volunteering in the area. KSMU’s Rebekah Clark reports.
“I’m sitting in the lobby at Cox South Hospital in Springfield. Some people might think that a hospital should be sad or gloomy, but this one is very peaceful. Two volunteers from this hospital, Pat and Bob Dickens, were honored with the Gift of Time award on Thursday. Both Pat and Bob were nominated by the hospital, which is a big deal considering that over 900 volunteers that put in time each year here. Both Pat and Bob are well-known around Cox Health, and are loved by many here. We wanted to find out how much of a difference volunteers can make in an organization.”
“We nominated Pat and Bob because we felt like they were very, very typically exemplified ‘Ozarkian’ volunteers. We are very lucky to have them in our program.”
That’s Stephanie Spradling. She’s the Assistant Director of Volunteering Services for Cox Health Systems. She said that both Pat and Bob not only volunteer for Cox, they also volunteer in different organizations around the area. She said that demonstrates ‘Ozarkian’ volunteering, as well as their compassion and giving spirits. She believes that these qualities made the couple prime recipients of the award.
The Gift of Time award started in 1991 at the Council of Churches of the Ozarks. Sharon Bradford, spokesman for the organization, said that a panel of seven judges sifts through the nominations every year to recognize outstanding volunteers or organizations, and the work that they do. This year, 67 nominations were considered and narrowed down to 10 recipients. Bob and Pat were one of two couples picked. Bob says he and his wife are grateful for the award, but don’t feel the need to glorify the honor.
“Well of course we are very flattered to receive the awards. We’re not really sure that there weren’t a number of other people that probably were worthier than we were. I don’t think of it in terms of competing with those folks because I wish we could have all been up there on the stage.”
Bob has a personal connection with Cox, and hopes to volunteer there for as long as he can.
“My mother passed away there in 2007, but I was so impressed with the treatment that she received that I volunteered there right after it, right after she passed away.”
He runs the Information Desk in the front lobby on Tuesdays and Thursdays. His wife works at the Surgery Information Desk on Fridays, in a different part of the hospital.
“I do it because we have received so many blessings ourselves, that it’s a chance to share some with our community. We just like the idea of sharing with other people, and we thought that it was a good way to do it.”
Both Pat and Bob also meet all of the WWII veterans who go on the Ozarks Honor flights; he is on the waiting list of over 1000 veterans to go on an Ozarks honor flight. The couple, along with the other 8 recipients, will have their picture displayed on the Rosanna Bradshaw Memorial Wall of Fame in the Busch Municipal Building throughout the year.
For KSMU News, I’m Rebekah Clark.