Terry Young, known to his co-workers and visitors at Bayhealth’s Milford campus as Mr.Terry, has been volunteering at the hospital’s front desk for 15 years. At 94-years old, Mr. Terry is still active, helping secure wheelchairs at the entrance and directing visitors where to go when they arrive at the hospital.
“I work the front desk, talk to people, give Anna hugs and provide directions for people,” Mr. Terry said. “Whatever they need me to do, I do. I love meeting people who come into the hospital. Sitting at home in my empty house staring at the walls is no fun, so I come in here and help out however I can.” Anna Greene an employee at Bayhealth who also works at the front desk, says that Mr. Terry provides more than just assistance at the front desk.
Ms. Greene said that Mr. Terry enjoys making people laugh when they come into the hospital and that she can’t imagine how she would do her job without his help. She said that he helped address envelopes for their Honor and Applause program, saying that his handwriting was beautiful, almost like calligraphy.
“He helps me gather wheelchairs that we need in the mornings for people coming in for day surgery,” Ms. Greene said. “We sometimes have to tuck them into one of the offices because they disappear. A lot of people come here early in the morning for day surgery who need the wheelchairs, so Mr. Terry helps me secure them to be sure there are enough.”
Originally from Pottertown, Pennsylvania, Mr. Terry grew up as one of seven children. He said that his parents had a rule that when you reached 18, you were required to leave their home and begin living life as an adult. Mr. Terry entered the Navy Air Force, serving for four-and-a-half years flying PB4Y aircraft. After serving in the military, he attended University of Maryland, earning a degree in civil engineering.
“I worked for Texaco as a civil engineer for 45 years,” Mr. Terry said. “I travelled all over the world for the company, but Linthicum, Maryland was my home base. I was a basketball player in college and I actually played three games with the Harlem Globetrotters.” Mr. Terry said that he and his wife retired to Florida and, in 2000, their daughter, who lives in Bear, called and told them that they lived too far away and she wanted them to move to Delaware, which the couple did, settling in Milford. His wife has since passed away.
Mr. Terry was at a coffee shop and Warren Truitt, a friend of his, suggested that he volunteer to work the front desk at the hospital. Mr. Terry visited the hospital and signed up to volunteer. At the present time, he has over 6,000 hours of volunteer service at the Milford campus. He said he did not volunteer when he was younger and he does not volunteer anywhere else.
“I originally worked at the Kent campus,” Ms. Greene said. “When I took the job here in Milford, I didn’t know this hospital very well. It was volunteers like Mr. Terry who helped me get acclimated to the campus. I don’t know what we would do without the volunteers here.”
Mr. Terry said that governmental regulations make it difficult sometimes to do their job. He said that before recent regulations, the hospital was softer and friendlier than it is now. He said that he knows those laws affect all hospitals, not just Milford, but that he liked things better the way they were before.
Danielle Pro, Media Center Coordinator at Bayhealth, said that the hospital is always looking for volunteers to provide any number of services. She said that there were more than 500 volunteers throughout the Bayhealth system, providing over 70,000 hours of service to the hospitals each year. Volunteers must work one three-to-four hour shift each week, but are able to choose the hours they wish to volunteer. There are also student volunteer programs available.
“For students who are considering a career in healthcare, volunteering at the hospital is a great way to determine if that is the career path they want and to get a head start on learning the industry,” Ms. Pro said. Mr. Terry said that he recalled a young girl who helped them at the front desk, saying that she was a great help to him and the staff.
Ms. Greene said that having a smiling face in Mr. Terry at the front desk is critical. She said they never know why someone is coming through the front doors. They may be visiting a sick relative, here for a minor procedure or facing major surgery. She said that the front desk staff are the first people they see when they enter. For this reason, the staff and volunteers at the front desk need to do what they can to make them comfortable since no one actually wants to be in a hospital.
Ms. Pro said that Mr. Terry had grown very popular on social media. The staff threw a birthday party for him on his 94th birthday and the photo taken of him had received many comments from people whose lives he had touched when they came to the hospital.
“We invited the mayor here for his birthday,” Ms. Pro said. “Mr. Terry spent about four minutes at his party because he had to go – he was supposed to be at the front desk. That’s just the kind of volunteer he is.”