Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'A TRUE AMBASSADOR FOR THE HOSPITAL'; at 91, He's Retiring from His Volunteer 'Career'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'A TRUE AMBASSADOR FOR THE HOSPITAL'; at 91, He's Retiring from His Volunteer 'Career'

Article excerpt

Byline: SANDY STRICKLAND

Ben Miller was walking down the hallway at Memorial Hospital when he spotted an old golf buddy.

His friend, an auxiliary member, looked at him and quipped: "I think I can get you on."

Miller, who was there to visit a patient, was active in his community but had never thought about volunteering at a hospital. He did, indeed, join up in 1989 and for more than 18 years, has been a fixture on the Southside hospital's admitting desk.

"I do enjoy helping people when they need help, and you see a whole lot of people who need it in a place like this," the 91-year-old said.

But the man known for his quick wit, Southern gentlemanly manners and personable smile has retired from his post after 6,845 volunteer hours.

"I realized I couldn't do this forever," he said. "I'd rather recognize it myself rather than have somebody tell me."

Miller's service has been exemplary, said Susan Bowen, director of volunteer services. For example, he received Memorial's Frist Humanitarian Volunteer Award for 2003, the highest honor a volunteer can receive. The award, named for the doctor who founded Hospital Corp. of America, Memorial's parent company, came with $500 cash, as well as $500 to the charity of his choice - Florida Christian College.

He received another award last year for recruiting a couple of friends to become volunteers and said he would encourage anyone to do so.

"He's a true ambassador for the hospital," Bowen said. "I've never seen anything but a smile on his face and never heard him say a negative word. I can't imagine what the admitting service is going to be without him."

Bowen said he would come in early to round up wheelchairs for patients and visitors. He helped patients sign in for services and on occasions when they were admitted, escorted them to their room, showed them how to adjust their bed and call a nurse. …

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