Roper volunteer clocks 32,000 hours

Betty Saulisbury, a volunteer at Roper St. Francis, has clocked more than 30,000 hours in a 40-year span.

Those who have worked alongside Betty Saulisbury, a volunteer at Roper Hospital, believe her 40-year commitment to the hospital, which has totaled 32,000 hours, has been as beneficial as the work of a regular staffer.

Saulisbury, 87, was recently honored for volunteer services by the hospital and now proudly sports the pin she was awarded on her shirt while she works at the help desk each week.

“She goes out of her way to make others feel wanted, needed, cared about and special,” said Lynne Steele, the hospital’s volunteer coordinator and a friend of Saulisbury for 10 years. “That’s probably why so many people love her.”

Her 32,000 hours, which breaks down into working full-time for more than 15 years, began when she was 47.

Saulisbury started out by going into patients’ rooms and filling up their containers with ice water. From there, she worked in the recovery room for 10 years and then went into the admitting office in the 1990s.

One of her favorite tasks during her time volunteering has been assisting patients before their surgery.

“Once they’re ready, I would sit and talk with them until it was time for their surgery,” she said. “And I think that helped calm their nerves.”

Saulisbury also has been able to lighten the mood for so many during the holidays, like convincing her colleagues to join her in wearing bunny ears for Easter. She also makes hats for newborns and bibs for patients who may spill things on themselves while they’re eating.

After years of volunteering with her husband, Saulisbury thought about giving it up after he died last year. But her family wouldn’t let her. Today, she says she is glad she has remained a member of the team.

“I would’ve missed it if I had given it up, so I’m glad they convinced me,” she said. “It’s just something I like to do because I love to give.”

Steele added that Saulisbury “has a huge heart and whatever she can afford to do to make others feel special, that’s what she does.”

Reach Derrek Asberry at 843-937-5517. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekAsberry.