Volunteer Spotlight: Bob & Dianne Nichols Love to Give Back
Bob Nichols spent his career in the business world, working his way up the corporate ladder to eventually hold executive positions. He said he always has had a deep desire to put his career skills to work as a volunteer to give back to the community for “all the wonderful things God has given” him. He jumped at a new opportunity to give back when it presented itself through Regina Health Center (RHC).
Bob and his wife Dianne were hosting a family-needs campaign near Christmas 2009. He happened to drive by RHC and saw a sign for a Christmas craft sale, so he stopped in to see if there was anything to purchase for his personal “give back” effort.
“I encountered the friendliest people at that shop that I decided to follow up and see if any of my career skills could be used as a volunteer,” he said.
Bob signed up to be a volunteer and was placed on the fundraising committee because it mirrored his career skills. But, he decided he was looking for a different experience from his professional years. He stopped volunteering for a brief time. “My desire to go back began to intensify for all the same reasons I was interested in the first place—engaging with the extraordinary people I had met at the Christmas shop,” he explained.
He came back to volunteer with the Activities Department and has served in a variety of areas, from the bookstore to finance to the Holy-In-One Golf Outing and the Car Cruise-In. At the Car Cruise-In, he has been nicknamed “Mr. Popcorn” after making and distributing popcorn bags to residents and guests for a couple years.
“I have never encountered a more thankful and friendly environment than the one at Regina Health Center. It makes you want to do anything you can to help,” he said. Doing anything to help extended to recruiting his wife Dianne, who has a passion for sewing and quilting. She has turned that passion into helping keep residents warm by creating lap blankets. She said the idea came from when her mother was in a skilled nursing facility and a volunteer there gave her a crocheted blanket. When her mother passed away, Dianne inherited several containers of yarn. She was wondering what to do with all the yarn when it occurred to her, “Why don’t I ‘pay it back’ in her memory and make crocheted lap blankets out of her yarn.”
Pieces of Dianne’s work are on every floor and touch almost every resident. She created an impressive quilt that hangs outside the Holy Family Chapel. In addition to lap blankets in resident rooms, her work can be seen moving about the hallways in the form of carry bags (pictured above right, Sr. Patricia O’Brien, OCD) she creates for residents with walkers. The colorful, practical bags fit perfectly over the front of their walkers. “It gives me peace and internal happiness to know that I was able to make someone smile,” Said Dianne.
She and Bob have no plans of slowing down with their volunteer work at RHC anytime soon. “Regina offers everything that I am looking for in a place to ‘give back.’ The staff is extremely caring and friendly, and everyone is a pleasure to work with. The residents are well cared for, and they appreciate our efforts,” said Bob. “There is a sign in the entrance to the facility that says ‘Peace Site’ and it truly is.”
Regina Health Center is fortunate to have many loving and dedicated volunteers that help the facility run smoothly and we cannot thank them enough. If you’re looking for rewarding, interesting volunteer opportunities, there are a variety of volunteer positions at RHC. Please call Jackie Clancy, volunteer coordinator, at 330.659.5128, for more information.