Boggs named 2008 Volunteer of the Year

Published 8:07 pm Friday, October 10, 2008

There are people in several walks of life who are hard to slow down, who find it difficult to sit still and watch instead of being active. Those are usually the people who are known for getting things done, who effect change and bring new ideas to everyday life.

Alice Boggs is one of those people, and her work was recognized this week when she was unanimously chosen as the 2008 Alabama Council of Hospital Auxiliaries Volunteer of the Year at the council’s conference at Guntersville.

Boggs was named this year’s Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital Volunteer of the Year, her second such honor, having earned that distinction in 1999. She has served as the BWWMH Auxiliary president for a total of nine years.

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Boggs began working with the auxiliary in March 1990. In a letter of recommendation sent by BWWMH chief executive officer Mike Marshall, he states, “Under her leadership, our auxiliary has raised many thousands of dollars to support the mission of our facility. She also is active in other organizations in our community: the Bargain Box, sponsored by the Christian Women’s Association; the Chautauqua Club; and the Demopolis Church of Christ. You can usually find her in her the kitchen, daily preparing her trademark chicken and dumplings to take to the sick and shut-in of the city. She also helps older residents get to and from their doctor appointments, as well as their weekly trips to the grocery store.

“Even after her term as president of the BWWMH Auxiliary ended this past year, she has continued her service to our facility, single-handedly spearheading a campus-wide beautification project.”

That project is called “Roses for a Caring Heart,” in which the auxiliary is selling rose bushes and crepe myrtles that people may have planted at the hospital in memory of or in honor of a loved one, very much like the “Love Lights” promotion does during the Christmas season. The rose bushes sell for $10 each, while the crepe myrtles sell for $20, and can be purchased at the hospital. The project began in July.

“We’ll be selling these until we fill up the place,” Boggs told The Demopolis Times in August. “You can go inside the hospital, and we have a picture of the facility, and it has the rose bushes numbered, and you can look at the chart and see the names that correspond with the numbers.”

Although she works tirelessly for the hospital, the state recognition came as a shock to her.

“I feel overwhelmed,” she said. “It was a great, great honor to represent the town of Demopolis. To me, there’s no special place like Demopolis. It’s so easy being a volunteer because the people are so kind to you. I love Demopolis, and I love our hospital.

“They kept (the award) a secret: the CEO, Mike Marshall and Chrissy Brooker, who is liaison for the auxiliary. I thought I was just riding up there (to Guntersville) to watch Sharon (Farst) get her award as chairman, and when this happened, my legs were weak, and I couldn’t walk! I thought they were going to have to carry me up there!

“First, they gave the Teen Volunteer of the Year,” she said. “Then, on mine, they said, ‘This volunteer got a unanimous vote as the best volunteer in the state of Alabama. She was the administrator of a nursing home, she rides a scooter’ and I said, ‘Uh-oh! That’s me, because nobody else rides a scooter!’”

Boggs was the administrator at Woodhaven Nursing Home in Demopolis before she began working with the BWWMH Auxiliary. She came to Demopolis in 1976 with her three daughters, Rhonda, Amelia and Melissa. She is married to Tom Boggs, who also has three children, Thad and twins Ben and Lynn.

“Mostly, I get to think about all of my fantasies about what would be good for the hospital,” she said about her work with the auxiliary. “They let me more or less play around with it, like the rose bushes for the outside, and my plans to completely revamp the mammogram room. I also enjoy just seeing the people up there every day. It’s just a joy to me, and I miss it like family when I’m not there!

“I ran a nursing home for many, many years, and then, I stayed home for about a month, and I couldn’t stand it, because I was used to being around a lot of people. So, said, ‘I’ve got to do something,’ so I signed up. I was in the hospital visiting, actually, and they said, ‘Why don’t you be in our auxiliary?’ I said, ‘That sounds just like me.’ I started, and I started all the fund-raising, and that was a real shocker for the people in the auxiliary because they weren’t used to having any fund-raisers.”

Alice Boggs has put in more than 5,000 hours of service to Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital, earning the state’s Volunteer of the Year award, and you can be sure than she enjoys each and every minute.