Thirty years is a long time to devote to volunteering, but Ruby Brawner has done just that and said it’s how she’ll also spend her next three decades — God willing.
Brawner was recently recognized by Sen. Butch Miller and Northeast Georgia Medical Center for 30 years of volunteer service with the hospital.
“Over the years, Ms. Ruby has consistently demonstrated her commitment to helping those in the community,” Miller wrote. “Her passion to enrich lives is evident in all that she does. She is a kind and hardworking individual, never one to ask of others what she is not willing to do herself.”
At age 79, Brawner doesn’t like to sit still for too long. She said she just hasn’t gotten to that stage in her life yet.
“You’ve got to use your time wisely,” she said.
She said she tries to take a lesson from Jesus. She explained that while he was ministering, he covered a lot of ground to help the most people.
“When I get up this is my prayer,” she said, “I get down on my knee and I ask the Lord to put somebody in my path and let me help somebody.”
She often finds those people who need her help.
In addition to the hospital, Brawner volunteers with Meals on Wheels and a prison ministry group.
“I enjoy all of those volunteer duty ministries because it’s involving people. That is my goal, to help people,” Brawner said.
After her husband’s death in 1981, she had some extra time she wanted to fill so she started volunteering in the hospital gift store. She has worked in virtually every area of the hospital since.
“Right now, I’m delivering mail and I like that better than anything,” Brawner said.
She said being able to let patients know that someone is thinking about them is enough to brighten her day.
“That person lying in that bed, it could be me and it could be you. But it’s by the grace of God that it’s not us. And I’m thankful that I can do this,” Brawner said.
Lynne Allen, director of volunteer services at the hospital, said Brawner has always been a dependable volunteer and was often called to sit with sick children or to hold an infant whose parent was not there.
“She just has a very special way of lifting spirits,” Allen said.
Allen said Brawner has a gift of making people feel loved and appreciated.
“On her volunteer application, the reason she states that she wants to volunteer is she loves helping people. I know that Ruby is very sincere about helping people. You can tell that she loves people. She always brightens my day,” Allen said.
But Brawner said it’s the looks on the patients’ faces that brighten her day. She said the whole reason she volunteers is to see people smile.
“I learned this in my old age, when you help somebody you don’t lose anything ... when you help somebody it’ll come back to you twofold,” Brawner said.
Brawner has dedicated four hours a week to helping people however she can at the hospital. During those 30 years she’s logged more than 4,500 hours of service.
“I don’t think I’ll be there 30 more years,” Brawner said laughing. “But just in case I do live 30 more years, I’ll be going in those doors 30 more years as long as the Lord wills it. It’s in his hands.”