When I walked into Metroplex Hospital on Sept. 27 to cover its 35th anniversary event, the first thing I saw was Mary Taylor’s broad smile followed by, “Can I help you find something?”

It was my first time stepping foot in the hospital, so the friendly greeting and a helpful point in the right direction was greatly appreciated.

Taylor, originally from Pennsylvania, moved to the area 47 years ago when her husband was stationed at Fort Hood — never thinking she would call it home. But her husband retired several years later and they decided to stay.

Taylor worked at Fort Hood for 30 years in various capacities, including being a key puncher, typist and engineering technician before retiring as a management analyst in 1994.

She said she was retired for two years but “had to do something.”

“After working all those years, I couldn’t just sit around and do nothing,” she said, laughing.

In March 1996, Taylor said she learned about volunteering at the hospital.

“I met a lady at church and she volunteered at the hospital. That was all she talked about,” she said. “I came soon after and talked to the director at the time and she put me to work within days.”

Taylor’s been volunteering at Metroplex for 17 years now. She works two days a week at the main entrance information desk greeting visitors and making a list of new patients for the gift shop to deliver flowers to. She said the most rewarding thing about volunteering at the hospital is “meeting all the wonderful people.”

Metroplex has 115 volunteers and I would imagine, if they’re anything like Taylor, their warm smiles and quick greetings are appreciated by most who walk through the door, especially those not knowing what fate has in store for the loved one they’re visiting.

Contact Natalie Stewart at nstewart@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7555

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