Bernice Persico Clarke is celebrating her 50 year anniversary volunteering with Queen of the Valley Medical Center. She began volunteering a decade after the hospital officially opened its doors on March 3, 1958 and has been volunteering one or two days a week ever since.
“The past 50 years went by so quickly, but that’s what happens when you are enjoying yourself,” she said.
When she began volunteering in 1968, Persico Clarke had just relocated to Napa from Kansas City with her three sons to be closer to family. Her husband had just passed from a heart condition and it was the kind nature of the caregivers who treated her husband that inspired her to become a hospital volunteer. She balanced caring for her children and a career with volunteering at The Queen on the weekends.
Over the last 50 years, she has volunteered in a variety of areas, including the gift shop, human resources, security, and the information/reception desk in the emergency department and main lobby. Today, she volunteers in the Outpatient Surgery & Procedures Center, answering phones, ensuring patient packets are in full supply and greeting patients. She has seen the hospital grow from a “cozy” 90-bed hospital, to the 208-bed medical center it is today.
“The biggest change was the addition of the Herman Family Pavilion. [The hospital] has come a long way,” she said, also noting that many things remain the same. “The roses, it seems like they have always been in front of the hospital. And, the employees, they have always been so nice, and very appreciative.”
The Queen played a pivotal role in Persico Clarke’s life. It was at the Queen that she met her second husband, Bill, when they both happened to visit a friend who was admitted to the hospital at the same time. The couple celebrated their 20th anniversary this year. Shortly after they married, Bill also began to volunteer at Queen of the Valley and they volunteer together to this day.
This week, April 15-21, the hospital is celebrating Bill, Bernice and nearly 200 volunteers during National Healthcare Volunteer Week. A formal luncheon will take place to honor the volunteers on Friday, May 4. To learn more about how you can become a Queen of the Valley volunteer, visit www.TheQueen.org/Volunteer.
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