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Not a job, but a joy

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What would the world be like without the kind of people who volunteer their time and effort in service to others; the type of people who are rewarded, not with a paycheck, but with the knowledge that many people benefit from their selfless devotion to the service of others?

Mary Kay Walker of Flower Mound is one of those magnanimous few who believe that everything we do doesn’t have to include a paycheck. “I don’t want this to be a job; I want it to be a joy,” Mary Kay said, during a lunch interview at my home.

As President of the Auxiliary and Volunteer Coordinator for Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Flower Mound (THPH), Ms. Walker supervises scores of adult and junior volunteers who perform duties that range from managing the front desk, the gift shop and the concierge service which delivers items to those floors where visitors are waiting. When the hospital opened in April of 2010, the auxiliary was already prepared to open the gift shop and coordinate the volunteers.

Mary Kay does some of the work from home, but is at the hospital just about every day. Part of her duties is to order merchandise for the gift shop, and, under her direction, the sales have grown substantially since it opened a couple of years ago. The profits go into the Auxiliary fund which can then be used to assist the hospital with its outreach efforts and with some special needs cases that are not covered in the general budget.

In addition, the auxiliary has a scholarship program for its junior volunteers, many of whom plan to pursue careers in medicine. The Auxiliary can apply for grants to fund some needs and participates in events such as the American Heart Walk, scheduled for October 26 this year.

All interviews for volunteers are handled by Mary Kay. Background checks are required, and all volunteers must have flu shots, annual TB tests, Titer tests and other tests to assure hospital staff that patients are not jeopardized. According to Ms. Walker, the hospital absorbs the expenses that go into the procedure of accepting volunteers.

For those who want an interesting and challenging avocation, one that will not only provide an insight into the workings of a hospital, but will satisfy the need most of us have to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, join with the volunteers at Presby.

Whether you’re a Flower Mound resident, or part of the surrounding towns and cities, you’re welcome to apply. A four-hour per week commitment for one year is required for adults. Because of school obligations, junior volunteers are only required for 2 hours per week.  You can apply by getting in touch with Mary Kay at 214 417 8939 or by email at: amkwalker@verzon.net.

An annual Appreciation Banquet is held at the hospital to thank the volunteers and to award scholarships. On May 29, a total of $6000 was awarded to LISD graduating seniors who had distinguished themselves as junior volunteers.

Another distinct advantage of being a volunteer at THPH is the opportunity to meet and work with Mary Kay. She exudes a genuine sense of warmth and affability that will instantly put you at ease. Moreover, she’s a veritable lexicon of information, which enables her to ably instruct the volunteers and keep them up to date on their hospital assignments.

It’s important to point out that the hospital saves a substantial amount of money each year because of the important work performed by those generous community members who are willing to donate their time and efforts.

Among her many other endeavors, Ms. Walker is also a member of the Flower Mound Parks, Arts and Library Services (PALS) board, and an active member of the Seniors In Motion (SIMS) organization.

When asked why she dedicates so much of her time to volunteer activities, Mary Kay says without hesitation; “My husband and I have been so very blessed, and we’re at a point in our lives in which we just want to give back.”

Those who have had the pleasure of knowing Mary Kay would say that they’re the ones who have been blessed.

Bob Weir is a long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor. In addition, Bob has 7 published books that include “Murder in Black and White,” “City to Die For,” “Powers that Be,” “Ruthie’s Kids,” “Deadly to Love,” “Short Stories of Life and Death” and “Out of Sight,” all of which can be found on Amazon.com and other major online bookstores.

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