Imagine having to walk across a concrete parking lot in sweltering heat, rain, snow or even a torrential downpour. Add an oxygen tank, bag of medication, a prosthetic limb, cane or physical disability to that trip.
At Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne, those who need a little assistance getting to the building will no longer have to make the trek alone.
That’s because Jeff England Motor Company recently donated a golf cart to the hospital so that volunteers can escort patients to their respective hospital entrances.
“After talking about it, we had decided to purchase one,” said Jackie Laws, THC patient advocate.
LaVern Collins, first vice president of the Texas Health Cleburne Hospital Auxiliary and longtime friend of England, later approached England and asked him if he knew where the hospital could purchase a golf cart.
“He leaned back in his chair and said, ‘How about [we] donate one?’” Collins said. “I said, ‘Dang, Jeff, you didn’t even make me ask.”
England had the golf cart modified to be a more comfortable ride for those who need it most. A step to the cart has been reinforced to allow the cart to stay balanced when someone climbs on board. He is also looking for a larger roof to extend shade to the back passenger area.
“We put a lot of thought into it and then found one that was fitting to carry the people the way we wanted,” England said of the electric-run cart. “We’re also going to try to keep it up when it needs repair.
“It’s just a good thing, the right thing to do. We like to try and help, and then of course ... there are people that can’t walk that far. If they’ve got some volunteers that are willing to drive them, the energy the patients use walking can be used for something else.”
Sherry Cummings, president of the auxiliary, said the cart’s initial run went smoothly and people have given raving reviews.
She said plans are in the works to add a cooler with water and sports drinks on board.
Right now, there are four volunteers who work various hours to shuttle patients wherever they need to go. Drivers also have radios on board in case of an emergency.
Running hours for the golf cart, which start Monday, are planned to be 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Laws said the hospital is always in need of more people donating their time.
“We have one lady who is 95 and she is here all the time, filing papers,” Laws said. “We have several things people can do.”
Volunteers work the front reception area at the hospital, sell popcorn as a fundraiser for medical equipment, construction and supplies and meet with patients on a face-to-face basis.
Several more volunteers would help make the golf cart runs much more smooth and simple, Laws said.
For information about becoming a volunteer, call Laws at 817-556-5494 or stop by the hospital to pick up a volunteer packet.