February 19, 2004 at 1:50 PM CST - Updated June 26 at 7:41 AM
More and more East Texans are reaching retirement age. Right now 14% of the people in Smith County are over the age of 65. But many seniors say they don't want retirement to mean they stop contributing to the community. So they're volunteering their time at places like our local hospitals. And they say giving back, in their golden years, has been more rewarding than they could ever imagine.
When you walk through the doors of UT Health Center you're sure to find Jim Lemmond's smiling face. He's one of the many senior volunteers at the hospital. He spends his days trying to meet, greet, and bring joy to people who are sick.
"I am one of those people who like to give. I can't take from the world. I kind of have to give to it," Jim explains.
He says at 76, he feels his job at the hospital is adding to his life.
"I have something to look forward too. I have friends that I've made here — not only the other volunteers, but also the patients. They come in and say, 'Hi Jim, hi Jim' and that's better than pay," he says.
Annie Moore is also a senior volunteer. She walks the halls of the hospital and visits sick patients. She offers a magazine, a drink, or just a listening ear to the many patients at the hospital.
"It has always been my motto that if I can help somebody as I travel on, then I feel my living will not be in vain," Annie explains.
Annie says giving back to others is making her retirement years her best years.
Carl Caskey is also a faithful volunteer at the hospital. He helps patients get to their appointments and he helps nurses and doctors transport files all around the hospital. He says every day he helps someone else, he is blessed.
"Just always that special feeling when you get through with the day and you feel how really fortunate you were you were able to help. If I helped one person in this hospital smile, I had a good day," says Carl.
All three volunteers say giving back is helping the community and they hope to inspire other seniors to make their golden years giving years.