June 15, 2003
Methodist volunteer recognized by Exchange Club
By Lisa Uzzle Gates
Health and Research News Service
JACKSON, Miss.—Husband, father, World War II veteran, cattle farmer, accountant, alderman – during the course of his life, Tom Rowland has answered to many titles. Now he can add outstanding volunteer to the list.
The Downtown Exchange Club of Jackson recently honored Rowland with their “Book of Golden Deeds Award.” The award recognizes dedicated volunteers who give hours of their time and talent to make their communities better places, Trey Jones, chairman of the group’s community service committee, said.
Rowland has been a regular volunteer at Methodist Rehabilitation Center since 1993. In addition to his good nature and caring attitude, Rowland is also an amputee, and spends time with patients at Methodist who are facing disabilities themselves.
“Many times therapists will call Tom and ask that he visit a certain patient whom they know can benefit from his comforting words and outgoing personality,” said Sandra Walker, volunteer services director at Methodist. “Just seeing that someone can function as well as Tom does, makes them know that progress is possible in their case also.”
Former Gov. William Winter was the keynote speaker for the luncheon and praised Rowland for his efforts. “He personifies what this award is all about. I take special pleasure in joining with you in recognition of this extraordinary man,” Winter said. “We have a God-given choice about how we live our lives. We can live selfishly, or generously and graciously. In some societies people are obligated to conform. We live in a free society, but we don’t really have a choice either, because a free society can’t exist for long if too many put their interests above their community.”
In accepting the award, Rowland thanked his wife, Dot, and his family for their support and encouragement and he encouraged the audience to give of their time.
“I challenge you to go to a hospital and visit a patient, visit a family and see what’s going on. If you don’t have a favorite hospital, come to Methodist, where we perform miracles everyday,” Rowland said. “And when you go home you can say your prayers and thank the Lord for your good health.”