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MRC News

Published on February 27, 2002
Collin Johnson
Health and Research News Service

Noel Guthrie Jr., right, a volunteer at Methodist Rehabilitation Center, is a GIVE award recipent. Sandra Walker is the director of volunteer services at Methodist Rehab.

JACKSON, Miss.—Noel Guthrie Jr., a volunteer at Methodist Rehabilitation Center, has been named a 2002 recipient of the Governor’s Initiative for Volunteer Excellence (GIVE) award. The Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Services sponsors the award.

For the past 10 years, extraordinary Mississippians have been honored in categories of volunteerism by the GIVE awards. Guthrie, who will receive the award for service to Mississippi’s disabled, will be recognized along with the other category recipients at a March 27 luncheon.

The GIVE awards were started by former First Lady Pat Fordice and since their inception in 1993, more than 80 Mississippians have been honored.

“Noel really gives himself to the patients at Methodist Rehab,” said Sandra Walker, director of volunteer services at the Jackson hospital.

“Sometimes our patients are far from their homes and their families and they especially need to know that someone cares for them personally and Noel does that,” she added. “He goes from floor to floor looking for patients who are lonely, scared or just bored. He always makes time to talk, read to them, deliver a newspaper or write a letter for them. He just cares and wants to help.”

Guthrie says it’s enjoyable work. “I love what I do here,” said Guthrie, a Jackson resident who retired from the Mississippi Department of Research and Statistics. “Sometimes I feel like I get more out of it than the patients do, I enjoy it so much.”

After retirement, Guthrie said he did a lot of looking to find an opportunity to give back. “I made some calls and decided this was the place for me,” he said of Methodist Rehab.

“I get to meet all kinds of different people who have done all sorts of interesting things,” said Guthrie. “They all have different personalities and I love getting to know them and knowing that I’m a part of helping them get better.”

Guthrie is one of more than 100 people who give of their time each week at Methodist Rehab. “Our volunteer program is known for excellence and compassion,” said Walker.

The volunteer program was honored by the Points of Light Foundation on Feb. 14.