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August 16th, 2010

I remember the only day I ever saw Betty McGee cry.  It was about nine years ago.  I cried as well.

Betty came to Corinth ten years ago this month – August 2000.  If you have been following our staff ten-year anniversaries, you know that was a year we added a number of new staff members.

The circumstances under which Betty came to us were different than the others, however.  I had been to a local pastors’ meeting in which I found out the Duke Endowment was offering to pay the salaries of parish nurses for one year.  There would be no obligation after a year.

What did we have to lose?  I had never heard of parish nursing, although the concept had been around (officially) since 1984.  The Pastoral Care Department of Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, IL, is credited with creating the concept.

Some say, though, that a holistic approach to health – body, soul, spirit – goes much further back, to Jesus himself.  That’s what parish nurses do – they understand the connection between the physical and the spiritual, and they help us pay attention to both.

A year after Betty came to Corinth, we all knew what an incredibly wonderful person she was, and such a good fit for Corinth!  But by that time we had added yet another full-time professional staff person (Peter Corneliussen, whose decade of service we will celebrate in 2011).  And while we all loved Betty, we just couldn’t see during the budget process how we could afford to keep her.

We sat in the Moss Room and both of us cried.  Then some church members who had worked most closely with Betty joined their money and their mouths, and pledged enough funds to keep Betty for another year.  After the second year, we knew we couldn’t do without her.

Betty’s colleagues on staff and lay members of the congregation have written their own tributes about what she means to them and to the church.  You will find those tributes below.

Most often people mention Betty’s compassion, advocacy, faithfulness, cheerfulness, practicality, and loyalty.  She keeps in touch with our homebound members more than anyone, and always will visit “on demand.”  She is truly an extension of the pastoral team, and even led a funeral a few years ago when all three pastors were out of town or unavailable!

The Lord gave Corinth an incredible gift when he gave us Nurse Betty ten years ago.

Alice Davidson:  It’s wonderful that we have Betty McGee here at Corinth.  She visits and gets to know many of our members who are shut in.  She represents Corinth to many of them.  She keeps us all aware of healthy ways to live.  For those of us in her Spiritual Stretchers class, she is an inspiration and a great leader (and answers questions we’d feel silly asking anyone else).  Thank you, Betty. 

Barbara Roithner: Betty is one of the most caring people I know. She is very passionate about what she does and cares tremendously about Corinth members. She even did a funeral once!

Bill Howell: Betty over the last 10 years has been faithful to our congregation and our staff in so many ways. She has been an advocate for the sick, a friend to those in crisis and a prayer warrior for all. I count it a privilege to call her a partner in ministry and depend upon her as an extra set of eyes and ears as she keeps her fingers on the pulse of our church.

Jan Ketcham:  Betty is a diamond in the “rough”! She is such a compassionate and caring person, and is always helping so many of our older members.  She genuinely cares and brings so much of her health knowledge as a nurse.  I feel blessed to work with her, as she is always smiling!!!

Jason Boehme: Betty, thank you for inviting me to be a part of the spiritual stretchers over the past 3 years. In my wildest dreams I never thought stretching to Richard Simmons could be so fun. I look forward to many more years of “stump the Doc”. You have created a really special fellowship! With love and health,  Dr.B

Jeannie Brackett:  Betty has meant so much  to the members of our church over this last ten years and also to the pastors as well. She is faithful and caring  to our members and ready to assist them in body, mind and spirit to promote a healthy lifestyle. She has offered opportunities to promote health and wellness thru classes such as Spiritual Stretchers, CPR/AED, and First Aid . Her visits to the sick in the hospital, at home and at the Hospice Home have meant so much our church members. This is just a little of the work Betty does and I am so thankful for her giving spirit and loving heart. We are so blest to have her.

Joe Lippard:  Betty is always concerned about the health of our staff and the congregation. I am so appreciative for that. She is truly a person of quality, a gentle southern lady.

Larry Estes:  Nurse Betty is very active in the life of our Corinth family.  I am inspired by the knowledge, cheerful nature, and positive spirit she offers our Parish Health Ministry.  Betty possesses spiritual beauty and is able to bring this out in others, especially our Corinth shut-ins.  I feel blessed to be her sidekick in GriefShare, Spiritual Stretchers and the Parish Health Committee.  Betty demonstrates the love of God to her Corinth family, and she is adored by all. 

Linda Thompson:  Betty is such a gracious lady whose love for the Lord is so evident.  I have loved working with her.  She has a compassionate spirit, practical sense and creative ideas to help meet the needs of our church family.  We are blessed to have her as our Parish Nurse.

Melissa Shuford:  I have known Betty to be caring and informative always about health issues.  Love her bathroom wall tips!

Mickey Caudle:  As a fellow nurse, I can say Betty has truly answered her calling in life.  Betty is faithful, loyal and genuine.  Our church is blessed to have such a dedicated staff member.  She is there for our pre-school children and staff, older members, shut-in’s and involved in Grief Share to provide compassion to those who have lost a love one.  What a great Florence Nightingale.

Paul Cummings:  Betty is always there to shepherd our people who are in need.  She has such a kind way of loving and caring for our hospitalized and homebound members.  We are so blessed that she is a part of the Corinth Staff.

Sharon Rowe:  Betty has been a joy to work with at Corinth. She always comes to work cheerful and ready for whatever comes her way. I have especially enjoyed working with her as we include the children in her homebound ministry. She shows care and love to all!! Betty is kind, sweet and a friend to me. Thanks, Betty for all you do at Corinth!

 

Will Thompson: I am so thankful that Betty has chosen to share with us her gift of being  a cheerful servant. She is a wonderful example for all of us. 

 

 

 

 

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