Fresh out of college, Helen Lovell began working at J.P. Morgan Chase in the late 1950’s. In 1963, William McRitchie, a Vice President at the bank discovered Helen lived in Bronxville and offered her a suggestion that would change her life forever. “He told me I should give back to the community and since I lived in Bronxville, I should consider volunteering at Lawrence Hospital,” says Lovell. It turns out McRitchie at the time was the Chairman of the hospital’s Board of Governors and an avid supporter of Lawrence.
So on March 18, 1963, Helen started volunteering at the hospital’s Information Desk every other Friday night. “I answered phones, delivered newspapers and took patients to and from their rooms, a lot like what is done today,” states Lovell.
Helen witnessed many changes over the years at Lawrence including the reconstruction of the hospital’s north wing; the south wing and emergency department trade spaces; the coffee shop close and move; and a big strike in 1964. “It was something to see. The wives in town came in to cook meals for the patients and the husbands would come here after work to clean. The whole community worked to keep the hospital functioning during the work stoppage,” insists Lovell.
When Helen’s mother died in 1994, she decided to get more involved at the hospital. She started volunteering in the Gift Shop and became a cashier and then office assistant to the Director of Volunteers. Helen also took on leadership positions with the Hospital’s Auxiliary serving as recording secretary, treasurer and three terms as president. On March 18, 2013, she will have officially volunteered for 50 straight years and given more than 22,000 hours of service to Lawrence Hospital Center. Turning 80 soon, Helen says Lawrence is a comfort in good health and sickness. “This is my second family. I love serving this hospital and will continue to do so for as long as I’m able.”
Lawrence’s Director of Volunteers, Terry Martino has worked closely with Helen for nearly twenty of those fifty years. She beams when she thinks of Helen and how devoted she’s been to Lawrence, the other volunteers and the Bronxville community. “Helen is so organized and always gives 150%. I don’t know what I’d do without her support and most importantly her friendship. She’s an extraordinary volunteer who has given so much through the years,” adds Martino.