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Volunteering: An Opportunity to Live Your Best Life

Auxiliary Volunteer Jeanette Birdsall
Jeanette chose to volunteer at Phelps Health because she thought she could help the most people in this way.

Published on September 21, 2022

Read Time: 2 Minutes

If you have ever visited Phelps Health Hospital and walked through the North Entrance or shopped at the Repeat Boutique, you may have met Jeanette Birdsall.

A volunteer with the Phelps Health Auxiliary and Volunteer Services for the past 7 years, Jeanette helps people at the North Entrance information desk 2 days a week and assists in Phelps Health’s resale shop once per week.

“I enjoy the people,” said Jeanette, who is 77 years old. “I’m retired, and the friends I’ve made here – not just the volunteers and employees, but the patients, too – have made me happier.”

So, how did Jeanette find her passion for volunteering?

When she and her husband Don, who were living in High Ridge, moved to a farm near Rolla, she learned about the opportunity to volunteer from her daughter-in-law, who works at Phelps Health.

“I love Rolla,” Jeanette said. “It’s a big town, but it has that small-town feel.”

While she could have volunteered anywhere, Jeanette chose Phelps Health because she thought she could help the most people in this way.

“I feel like I make a difference in patients’ lives,” she said, noting that she has received thank-you notes from patients she has helped – even if it was just listening to them.

Another aspect of volunteering that Jeanette enjoys is the camaraderie among volunteers. Jeanette said Phelps Health volunteers all look out for each other, and she has made friends with other women in the Auxiliary.

In addition to her time volunteering at the information desk and Repeat Boutique, Jeanette also serves on the Auxiliary Board. She is proud of how the Auxiliary has been able to help so many patients, from donating money for a new ambulance to buying a stereotactic breast biopsy unit.

The Auxiliary doesn’t just help Phelps Health patients but also is involved in the community, Jeanette said.

The Auxiliary is a sponsor of Camp Capable, a program through The Community Partnership that helps children with disabilities or developmental delays participate in sports and fitness activities.

When asked if she would recommend others to volunteer at Phelps Health, she responded with an enthusiastic yes.

“It [volunteering] is an opportunity to live your life the best you can,” she said.

When not volunteering at Phelps Health, Jeanette can be found on her and her husband’s hobby farm near the Phelps-Dent county line, where they raise goats, chickens and rabbits. She also enjoys crocheting, knitting nd spinning wool, and she is learning how to make her own soaps.

Jeanette and her husband have three sons, Donald, Douglas and David. Three must be a special number to Jeanette, as she also has three grandchildren, Gina, Alex and Dawn.

Make a Difference - Volunteer

Each year, Auxiliary volunteers contribute 15,000-plus hours of service and work in 35 different areas throughout Phelps Health. Call (573) 458-7947 or email to learn more about volunteering at Phelps Health.

Found in: Auxiliary Auxiliary and Volunteer Services Community Volunteering