Larry Jordan

Everyone is related, and everything is connected.

"I'm Glad You're Here."

Jul 21, 2022 by Larry Jordan, in Volunteering

There is something pure and refreshing about giving my time, rather than selling my time, and more people thanked me in three months of volunteering than in 30 years of working.

On Tuesdays, we volunteer at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, where we entertain children in the waiting room for the Neurology and Orthopedics clinics.

When we first started volunteering, there was a humorous exchange between Our Hero and a Grateful Parent, who was relieved that we had calmed his son’s temper tantrum:

 GP:  Do you work here?

OH:  No, I’m a volunteer.

GP:  Did you used to work here?

OH:  No, I’m retired.

GP:  Are you a retired school teacher or social worker?

OH:  No, I’m a retired investment banker.

{…a head shake, a long pause, a low whistle…}

GP:  Man, you’re a long way from home, but I’m glad you’re here.  Thank you. 

We have been honored to meet many young parents who spend every hour of every day accommodating their children’s life-changing disabilities or life-threatening illnesses. 

Some of these families have moved thousands of miles to live close to this hospital, and many of these courageous moms and dads are younger than our own daughter and son.

These everyday heroes bear heavy burdens and endure constant sacrifice and suffering. Still, they are never too distracted or distressed to thank us or remind their kids to do so.

Their gratitude is so rewarding, yet so humbling, because no matter how much we care,  we can do so little to alleviate their suffering or share their sacrifices.

On Thursdays, I volunteer at the VA Fort Worth Outpatient Clinic, where I drive a van. Many of my passengers are home-bound, and some do not have computers or phones.

Despite the challenges of a life-changing disability or a life-threatening illness and despite the irritations of a frustrating bureaucracy or an indifferent citizenry, overwhelmingly, veterans continue to live their lives with dignity and grace.

Most veterans insist that it was a privilege to serve, that their service was unremarkable, that they are not entitled to special treatment.  Most are fervently patriotic and religious.

Again, it is rewarding, but humbling, whenever we are thanked by these real-life heroes. No matter how much we do, we can never repay these people who served us so well.