For 35 years, Nettie Williams has served as a volunteer at either Good Samaritan Hospital, the old Vaughan Hospital and today’s Vaughan. The former educator spent 29 years in the Selma City School System. -- Desiree Taylor

Williams dedicated through the decades

Published 9:56pm Monday, December 5, 2011

Her infectious smile and light-hearted personality greets you as you approach her. For Vaughan Regional Medical Center volunteer and former Selma City Schools educator Nettie Williams, making others feel at home is her specialty.

The St. Clair County native has called Selma home for nearly 60 years.

“I retired after 29 years … 23 years in elementary education at Clark Elementary and six years in the special education program at the old Knox school,” Williams said. “I love children and I love to see a sparkle of learning that says, ‘aha’ … it (teaching) gives you a chance to mold those young lives in the tender years.”

After helping children to be “well rounded” citizens and role models, Williams decided to volunteer — spending 35 years total.

“I spent 11 years with Good Samaritan Hospital, 14 years at the old Vaughan and 10 years at the new Vaughan — I need a degree in it,” Williams chuckled. “It gives me a chance to help people who need help. I’m a people person. I like to talk with people, be friendly with people … it gives me a chance to have a Godly conversation …”

From taking a cart filled with personal hygiene items to patients at Good Samaritan to working the gift shop, running errands for nurses and helping in hospital auxiliary fundraisers at both hospital locations, Williams said she’s enjoyed her many assignments.

Williams said when visitors come to the hospital, the experience should be positive one saying “I welcome you.”

“Most of the time, we’re the first person visitors see,” Williams said, who is currently on leave. “We want to help you and anyone else. It (volunteering) helps me to continue to be a light to those who are away from home — everyday is a new day.”

When she would go to the hospital as a youngster, Williams said she would always admire the pink ladies.

“I would see the pink uniforms and I said, ‘I want to wear a pink uniform one day,’” Williams said. “The pink uniform means something — it means love, it means joy, it means care — it means you’re reaching out.”

Williams said the pink ladies were a major inspiration for her.

“When I was in the hospital at one point, a pink lady was smiling (and) she had a bouquet of flowers for me and she asked me, ‘what was it that she could do for me,’” Williams said. “That inspired me also.”

Williams has also taken her volunteer efforts to Wallace Community College-Selma’s GED program, the Salvation Army and its Angel Tree and Lighthouse Convalescent Home. Williams also enjoys oil painting and bowling.

A member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Williams is program chair for the Women’s Missionary League. Married to her husband Lawrence for 55 years, the couple has one son, Roderick.

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