With a little extra time on her hands after retirement, Sharon Fox decided to put it to good use by volunteering at Sarah Bush Lincoln.
For many years, Sharon enjoyed volunteering alongside her husband, Malcolm, a friendly face at the help desk starting in 2003. While Malcolm served as a faithful volunteer until he passed away in 2016, Sharon is determined to carry on the tradition for the both of them. For her efforts, Sharon was recently named the SBL Guild’s 2020 Volunteer of the Year, a title she shares with fellow volunteer Jacqui McKibben.
Sharon was touched to receive the honor during a surprise celebration, though she was caught off guard when she was called to the hospital. The award is typically presented during the Guild’s annual banquet, which was cancelled this year due to COVID-19. “It was an unexpected surprise. I had no idea,” she said. “There are so many others that are so deserving.”
Sharon said she and her husband were inspired to become volunteers after traveling with a couple of devoted SBL volunteers who raved about the program. Sharon had recently retired after working for 36 years with the Internal Revenue Service and her husband Malcolm was a retired high school teacher, principal and superintendent in Arcola. “My husband loved volunteering at Sarah Bush Lincoln. He was a friendly guy so it came natural for him, and he knew almost everyone because he’d been a teacher for so long,” she said. “I’m a big supporter of Sarah Bush Lincoln and I love being a volunteer too.”
Sharon has volunteered in various roles in the past 18 years, including working alongside patients and caregivers in the Regional Cancer Center and the Heart Center. She also enjoys working as a clerk in the Gift Shop. “It’s fun to work in the Gift Shop. People often come to the Gift Shop to escape a sad or stressful situation and you can really make a difference by how you treat people. I do my best to be friendly and brighten their spirits,” she said.
Most recently, Sharon has been helping out as a volunteer in the Foundation/ Administration offices where she has definitely made a lasting impression. SBL Foundation Director Amy Card wrote in a nomination letter, “Sharon is a long-time volunteer and a true ambassador for Sarah Bush Lincoln. Despite having back surgery, Sharon continued to come in as scheduled to help where needed, even when she was in obvious pain. She is a generous donor to the Foundation, as a WomenConnected member and she supports so many initiatives that directly impact our patients. Sharon is known for her kindness and I know many employees who enjoy visiting with her when she works in the Gift Shop, Guild sales and more. She is a bright spot in the work day for so many and Sarah Bush Lincoln is lucky to have her.”
In another letter, administration staff members wrote: “Sharon’s work ethic and integrity is evident in everything she does. She is extremely reliable, and although she has a regular set of duties, she is always willing to assist on other projects and tasks. She schedules work time in advance and she is very efficient. Sharon holds herself to the highest standard of excellence with each and every project.”
After 18 years, Sharon says she is still excited to be a part of Sarah Bush Lincoln and she recommends volunteering to others who have a few hours of spare time to contribute. She plans to keep volunteering as long as she can. Sharon is also an active member of the Lions Club.
For more information on how to become a Sarah Bush Lincoln volunteer, contact Tracy Haddock, SBL Volunteer Services supervisor at 217 258-2500.