November 13, 2002
Mississippi Hospital Association names Methodist Rehabilitation Center volunteer one of state's best
By Collin Johnson
Health and Research News Service
JACKSON, Miss.—As a volunteer at Methodist Rehabilitation Center, Nell Smith has made an impact on her community, her friends and her family.
And when the Mississippi Hospital Association Society for Hospital Auxiliaries and Volunteer services named her one of its 2002 volunteers of the year, none of them were surprised.
“She always been dedicated to her volunteer work,” said her smiling daughter, Susan Elliott of Jackson. “She approaches her volunteer duties just like she would a job. She doesn’t let anything get in the way of her helping people. I’m so proud of her.”
Smith, of Jackson, has volunteered in the Methodist Rehabilitation Center gift shop for six years. The gift shop is almost completely volunteer-operated and all of its profits go to benefit the Wilson Research Foundation—the fundraising arm of the Jackson hospital which raises money for neuroscience research.
“I’ve always been involved in the medical field and I’ve always loved gift shops,” Smith said after receiving her award. “I didn’t think I’d be good working directly with patients, but here I saw an opportunity to give my time to a worthy cause.”
That cause, she hopes, will ultimately translate into a cure for disabling brain and spinal cord injuries. In 2002, the gift shop donated more than $23,000 to the foundation.
“Nell is a classic example of what being a volunteer is all about,” said Sandra Walker, of Madison, the director of volunteer services at Methodist Rehab. “She’s always ready to help. She always has a smile on her face. And she’s always there when you need her.”
Besides helping at the hospital, Smith has also helped by being a good influence on her friends and family. Elliott volunteers at her children’s school and at church, largely because of the example set by her mother.
“Mom always volunteered at church and school and as I grew up, I just watch that and learn by example,” she said. “She showed me that church and children should be precious in life.”
Nell Smith, center, was honored by the Mississippi Hospital Association as a volunteer of the year. Smith, of Jackson, was joined by her husband Tommy and daughter Susan Elliott at a banquet honoring her for her work at Methodist Rehabilitation Center.