Mon. Dec 4th, 2023

After retiring from teaching, Becky Grant, of Elizabethtown has turned her focus to volunteer work.

She grew up on a farm near Dayton, Ohio, and in school, she enjoyed business classes such as typing, bookkeeping and shorthand. That led her to teach business.

She enrolled at East­ern Kentucky Uni­versity in 1968 and when students asked why she went there, she’d joke, “because that is where Interstate 75 ended.” Grant said that confused many students because they couldn’t imagine an interstate ending.

“I always enjoyed teaching because it was a way to help students and I always enjoyed the subject material,” she said. “Since I have retired, I do miss the students and the staff.”

Before Grant retired, she learned of the volunteer work people were doing at the hospital. She knew several from her church that talked fondly of their experience.

“I would tell them that when I retire, I want to be a pink lady, too,” she said. “Of course, as you know, the volunteers at our hospital have sometimes been referred to as the pink ladies in a loving way.”

She retired from teaching in 2008 at North Har­din High School.

During her first two years of retirement Grant visited her mother in Ohio but when she died, Grant began volunteering at the hospital.

“I did so because I wanted to use my time in a positive manner, I wanted to give back to the community,” she said. “I also enjoy the friendships that are formed with the staff and volunteers.”

Two years after Grant began volunteering with the then Hardin Memorial Hospital auxiliary, she was asked to be an officer.

She’s served as historian, recording secretary, corresponding secretary, vice president and now president. She’s been president since May of 2020.

“Being president, I have the privilege of serving on the hospital’s foundation board,” Grant said.

She said COVID-19 has been an unusual experience for volunteers.

“With the hospital having restricted visitation most of our volunteers have not been able to volunteer since March 2020,” she said. “We were able to open the hospital gift shop in the summer on a very limited schedule”

She was glad to be a part of the Baptist Health Hardin gift shop reopening because it serves patients and visitors, as well as the staff.

“As we like to call it, we provide retail therapy to the staff who enjoy just coming in to browse on their breaks,” she said. “As you know, they have had a very stressful year dealing with the COVID pandemic.”

Pat Howell serves as treasurer of the Baptist Health Hardin auxiliary.

“As like other volunteer based, nonprofit and civic organizations, these past 15 months have been a huge challenge,” Howell said. “Becky has met that challenge head-on.”

In meeting those challenges, Howell said Grant kept the auxiliary going with board meetings, kept members informed and helped organize fundraisers to help the auxiliary give back to the hospital.

Howell said Grant volunteers a shift at the gift shop and her husband, Gary, created an online gift shop so those who could not come in person because of COVID-19 restrictions still could order things to be delivered to patients at the hospital.

“Becky’s term as auxiliary president could be described as baptism by fire and with her leadership and the support of the other auxiliary officers has continued to lead the auxiliary,” Howell said.

Since normal auxiliary activities couldn’t happen at the hospital, Grant said they had to adjust with pop-up sales for fundraising.

“We have assisted the staff with special lunches during COVID, purchased sweats for patients’ use and helped fund the respite rooms for the staff,” she said of the funds they raised. “I do think that we will be able to get back to somewhat normal this fall and I know many volunteers are eager to get back to serve our hospital.”

Kevin Hilton, Baptist Health Hardin director of volunteer services, said Grant was mindful of the decisions she makes so they are beneficial to the hospital.

“Becky is a strong leader,” he said, adding she even recruited her husband to volunteer.

Before COVID, Grant served as a cook for 10 years at Warm Blessings. She also picked up the weekly donations from Panera.

“I did enjoy that opportunity because it was fun to cook with giving people and knowing that we were helping others as well,” she said.

The auxiliary is not her only presidential role. She’s also president of the Bluegrass Homemakers Club.

“The county homemakers groups are active in helping in the community,” she said. “For example, we made masks for middle school students during the COVID pandemic and have made donations to SpringHaven.”

Grant and her husband also are active members of College Heights United Methodist Church. They’ve been members for 20 years.

By senior