By Nathan Pilling
BEAVERCREEK — For Dolly Parker, volunteering is a way of life.
Whether it’s serving as a friendly face at the information desk at Soin Medical Center, supporting efforts on missions trips in Africa, providing information at the Air Force Marathon, working as a Junior Achievement leader, helping to write letters to Santa or teaching Sunday School, the Beavercreek resident is all about serving.
“I try to stay busy,” Parker said. “I want to be out in the community, and it’s just interesting to meet the different types of people you run into.”
There have been few months since Soin Medical Center opened in 2012 that Parker hasn’t been a volunteer there – she began volunteering there in May of 2012, about three months after the facility opened. Since then she’s been a familiar presence at the hospital’s front desk, helping to direct families and provide information as needed.
“Some people just want to talk,” she said. “Sometimes that’s all you are there for is they may have a relative in there, and they’ll come down and they just want to talk.”
She’ll provide a listening ear.
“ … Working at the hospital, you know everybody has needs,” Parker said. “You see people come in and they’re suffering. If we can provide something where they feel comfort … it just opens the doors more.”
She’s also on the Greene Medical Foundation Board, represents local hospitals at community events, serves at special events for the hospitals and has gone on missions trips with the hospitals to Malawi and Kenya in the last two years.
She’s also been a familiar face at the Air Force Marathon, both on race day and at community festivals promoting the event, and was recently recognized as the marathon’s 2015 Volunteer of the Year for her efforts.
“You just meet a fantastic number of people,” she said of working at the event, where she’s served for several years. “They come from all walks of life. Nobody’s any different. They may be wealthy, and they may be poor. It’s a thrill for me.”
That element of service is just who she is: “I’m always involved,” she said. “It’s the people. It’s just getting out there and meeting the people. You learn a lot.”