Delaware, OH,
18:02 PM

Delaware Gazette: OhioHealth 30 Year Volunteer Lights Up A Life For Special Event

For more than 30 years, you could find Diane Croy volunteering at OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital. She has done it all at Grady. From making hamburgers and french fries in the hospital basement three decades ago, to volunteering in the Grady emergency room currently; Diane says the hospital family is so special to her.

“Volunteers are the first to lend a helping hand, and the last to turn away. The people here at Grady are just like my family,” Croy said.

In all, she has volunteered more than 21,000 hours at Grady and with OhioHealth. She has also seen the work of OhioHealth in a different form. Her partner, Richard E. Smale, passed away three years ago this past October. His last weeks of life were spent under the watchful eye and care of OhioHealth Hospice.

“They were always real nice, would always help us out. They made sure he was being taken care of, and always took care of us too. They were very cheerful, and if your loved one is sick, they come in so you can get a break,” she said.

After Richard passed, Croy really depended on her volunteer work at the hospital. She would come in, spend hours doing volunteer work, while making strong bonds with the men and women on the front lines in the OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital emergency room.

“On Sunday, after church, I might would go and buy chicken, fix potato salad to bring to them so they would have something to eat during their long shifts,” Croy said.

Because of her dedication, and her passion for not only patients at Grady, but those who work at the hospital, OhioHealth Hospice asked Diane Croy if she would accept a special honor this year.

“When they said they wanted me to flip the switch on the ‘Light Up a Life’ event, I was like, what? I was so happy, it was like someone handed me a $1,000 dollar check. I was shocked, really surprised, but very happy,” Croy said.

For many in the Delaware community, attendance at Light Up a Life at Grady Memorial Hospital in early December has marked the beginning of the holiday season.

Since its inception in 2000, Light Up a Life has proven to be a loving and meaningful memorial event that celebrates the lives of loved ones who have died and to raise awareness along with financial support for OhioHealth Hospice.

“Participants are invited to make a contribution by purchasing an ornament that will have the name of a loved one printed on it. The names are read during the service and family members are invited to come forward to place the ornament on a Christmas tree – a wonderful way to honor the memory of loved ones,” said Doug Cluxton, Manager of Bereavement Services, OhioHealth Hospice.

As Diane flipped the switch at OhioHealth Grady Hospital, she also got a look at a quilt, and past quilts put together to honor loved ones gone.

She saw a patch she created in Richard’s honor hand-stitched into one of those special quilts.

“He called me tadpole, and I called him honey-bunny, and that is what will be on a square,” she said.

These beautiful creations have been a tradition since 1985. Every five years, a new quilt is created by families who were invited to participate by decorating a quilt square with details, colors, photos and other mementos of their loved one.

Members of the Serendipitee quilting group have been working hard, piecing the two new quilts together this year. Betty Demopolis, Sandy Lewis, Linnea Cummings, Mary Ann Thurston, Rusty Wells, Debbie Badger (quilter), and Sue Stafford of The Serendipitee Shop in Waldo, Ohio helped with the quilts.

This event also included familiar carols sung by the Delaware Chorus and musical selections by harpist, Trista Hill.

Written by Marcus Thorpe, OhioHealth Media Relations Manager for OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital. This story was a submission to The Delaware Gazette and ran in it's December 2 issue. You can read the article here.