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Alta Haunsz just couldn’t stop working.
President of the Volunteer Association at Baptist Health La Grange, Haunsz began her career as a volunteer in 1995. As a retired nurse, the 83-year-old found that making others feel better through volunteer work makes her feel better, too.
And on Wednesday, July 11, she was honored for her work as she accepted Kentucky’s Salute to Senior Service award.
The awards contest is sponsored by Home Instead Inc., which provides in-home care to senior citizens. Out of the 50 state winners, Maj. Melvin McLaughlin of Randolf, Vt., took home the national grand prize, which came with a $5,000 donation to the charity of his choice.
Haunsz and the 49 other state-level winners each received $500 to donate to their favorite charity.
Becky Beanblossom, president of Home Instead, presented the award to Haunsz. Upon receiving her check, Haunsz promptly turned it over to the hospital.
“It’s good to know there is still something you can do after you turn 65,” Haunsz said to a gathering of friends and family at a reception in the hospital lobby.
Haunsz spends most of her time at the hospital doing clerical work and making pillows for patients. As the head of volunteers, she also organizes volunteer meetings.
She said she takes pride in having an opportunity to contribute to her community and has no plans to retire from volunteering any time soon.
Haunsz said she feels blessed by the people she helps.
“One of the benefits of volunteering is the friendships you make,” she said. “I have met so many people who have become my special friends.”
Haunsz was nominated by Julie Gathof, a former co-worker, and Susan Arnold, director of volunteers at the hospital. Both women wrote nomination letters praising Haunsz and the work she does.
“Her organizational skills, coupled with the true desire to serve others from her heart, have been an absolute asset for our hospital,” Gathof said. “I have never seen her in a position she couldn’t handle.”
The letters and Haunsz’ story went up on Home Instead’s website, where she was chosen by voters as the winner.
“I really couldn’t believe it,” Haunsz said about finding out she won. “Have not ever done it for awards. I just really like being around people.”
For more on Salute to Senior Service and toview Haunsz’ photo on the Wall of Fame, visit SaluteToSeniorService.com.
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