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Kindness and friendliness fuel volunteer efforts

Every Tuesday for the past several years, you’re likely to find Carole Spurgeon helping out with a vigorous round of Bingo at Wichita Presbyterian Manor.

It’s one way, she said, to give back to a community and the people who cared for her admittedly sometimes challenging mother, Beatrice Nutting.

"My mom lived at Wichita Presbyterian Manor for 13 years, before she passed away in 2019" Carole said. "The staff was so kind and compassionate. They treated her like family, and I wanted to find a way to give back."

Her mom’s favorite activity was the weekly Bingo games. Carole visited Beatrice every couple of days - and always made sure to include a Tuesday Bingo game in the rotation.

“Before, they had all these really nice prizes, and Mom liked to be a winner and win all those prizes,” Carole said.

Often, Carole’s granddaughters would join in the fun.

“They literally grew up there,” Carole said. “From toddlers, they came over there and played bingo with her and all the residents. That was another fun thing about Bingo. They knew the residents over there. It’s been kind of an important part of our family.”

When Carole thought of a way to help out, Bingo seemed like a natural choice.

"I usually help the residents" Carole said. "In healthcare, there are so many who can’t hear the numbers, and some can’t see the card. So, I sit at the table and help the residents. I get them drinks and things like that, too.”

It’s been a fun and rewarding way for Carole to give back to a place, and people, who were kind and loving to Beatrice - even when she made it challenging.

“She was a character,” Carole said. “She had some health and emotional issues and she wasn’t always nice. It’s hard to be nice to someone who isn’t being nice to you. She wasn’t nice to me all the time, and I used every ounce of my patience with her. But she was funny, and would say a lot of funny things and I think people got a kick out of her sometimes. The staff treated her with friendliness and kindness. I just felt gratitude for that.”

In Beatrice’s youth, she played for a professional softball team in Chicago.

“She was a pitcher,” Carole said. “She grew up in a small town in Kansas and played in a league. At 19, went to Chicago and tried out - and she’d never been to a big city.”

That history of softball prompted staff at the Manor to arrange a field trip to watch the Wichita State University softball team play in 2015.

“They announced her name and told her story,” Carole said. “She got her picture taken with the team and they all signed a softball for her. They didn’t have to do that for her - but she really enjoyed it quite a bit. It was one of the kindest things.”

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