Fordice shares words of encouragement with hospital volunteers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 7, 2000

Former Mississippi First Lady Pat Fordice came to Natchez Thursday to give words of encouragement to volunteers at the Natchez Regional Medical Center.

Fordice, who is a long-time promoter of volunteerism, thanked the women for their work.

&uot;Unselfish service to one’s fellow human beings is really at the core of a fulfilling human life,&uot; Fordice said.

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The women met at The Castle at Dunleith, a newly opened restaurant at the antebellum house, for a luncheon hosted by the hospital.

&uot;This is our way of thanking our volunteers at Christmas time for the wonderful job that they do,&uot; said Jack Houghton, CEO of Natchez Regional Medical Center.

Charlotte Redhead is one volunteer who enjoys her work at the hospital.

&uot;I work in the (ICU) waiting room and that’s a really serious place,&uot; said Redhead, who said she often talks or prays with people who are grieving or upset.

&uot;I just feel like it does something for me to do something for other people.&uot;

During her presentation Thursday, Fordice said helping others is a reward in itself, but Americans also have a duty to help each other.

That concept is already being carried out by Mississippians and Natchezians and will bring great results in the future, she said.

&uot;The Mississippi spirit of neighbor helping neighbor will renew our state and will renew our nation,&uot; said Fordice, who also believes that spirit is nothing new in Mississippi.

&uot;It’s held in the hearts of each and every one of us,&uot; she said.

Fordice said her personal philosophy in life is &uot;to shake it off and step up.&uot;

To illustrate this point, Fordice told a story about a mule that was stuck in a well, but kept brushing dirt off its back because it refused to be buried by its owner.

Fordice said everyone can learn from that lesson.

&uot;I think life is like that,&uot; Fordice said. &uot;It can hurt you and bury you or you can shake it off and step up.&uot;

And in terms of staying fit, &uot;the best exercise for your heart is to reach down and pull somebody else up,&uot; she said.