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Bill Worrell

Volunteer Spotlight - Bill Worrell

Bill Worrell was born in a rural Alabama farmhouse, the son of a sharecropper. When it was time for Bill to come into this world, his father hitched his horses to a wagon and rode into town to fetch the doctor who ended up sleeping at the Worrell home until Bill arrived in the middle of the night. “The doctor said, ‘Everybody looks fine. What time is breakfast? Then he went back to sleep,” Bill said. The payment that doctor received for his services certainly isn’t something you would see these days. “After breakfast, dad went into the barn and got a little old pig and put it in the wagon, and then he took the doctor back to town,” Bill recounted.

From his earliest days on the farm, Bill had an appreciation for hard work, and through his lifetime, he has worked many jobs.  He joined the Navy at age 17. Later, he built ships for Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia and airplanes for Lockheed in Marietta, GA. He even worked in Saudi Arabia for a time before joining the National Guard. In his 40s, he began a new career in healthcare, working as a respiratory therapist and then serving as a nursing home administrator.

Maybe all that varied work experience is why Bill can’t choose just one duty as a volunteer in the Phoebe Volunteer Services Department. “I deliver newspapers. I deliver magazines. I deliver mail, and I stuff envelopes, just whatever they’ve got for me to do,” Bill said. He also uses his woodworking skills to make birdhouse kits that patients at Phoebe North Rehab put together as part of their therapy.

But perhaps Bill’s most rewarding volunteer activity is with a group called Phoebe Friends. Those trained volunteers spend time with patients who need to see a cheerful face or who may not have family members who are able to check on them. Nurses help direct Bill toward patients to visit. “When they’re not working me half to death in the volunteer office,” Bill said with a grin, “I go up on the floors, and I visit with patients. You’d be surprised at how much that does for their spirits. They just love it when someone comes in and talks to them,” Bill added.

Like his first doctor, who ended up with a country breakfast and little pig, Bill says he receives many unexpected blessings from his work as a Phoebe volunteer, and it’s something he highly recommends to others. “I would tell them whatever they put into it, they’re going to get a whole lot more than that out of it,” Bill said. “You can make any job a real task or something you don’t mind going back to, and volunteering at Phoebe is something you’ll look forward to going back to.”