Volunteers Are Pretty In Pink

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Trips to the emergency room with an adventurous little girl are not terribly uncommon. However, an overnight stay after surgery to install pins into an arm can send shivers through even the toughest grown-up.

That is until you meet up with a volunteer dressed in pink and wearing a bright smile. For Laynie Brogdon, that Pink Lady was Bertha Riggs.

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Pink Lady Bertha Riggs comforts newfound friend, Laynie Brogdon, after the little girl broke her arm.

Riggs has been a bona fide Pink Lady most of her adult life.

In Payson she has cheered patients, stocked shelves and helped the staff for the past three years, logging in more than 700 hours of volunteer time.

When Riggs spent time with Laynie early in the morning following her surgery, she asked the youngster about the fall, about the pain and about her life.

While talking with Laynie, Riggs paid close attention to every word. It was a personal touch that won the heart of the rambunctious freckled-face girl.

Every Wednesday, Riggs spends four hours at Payson Regional Medical Center.

"I go in and make sure all the rooms in the emergency department have supplies," she said.

"Then I go over to the A wing and go into see each patient."

In the rooms, she checks supplies and brings in fresh towels, but more importantly, she checks in with the patient.

Not just a name on a chart or a set of vitals, the patient becomes a person who has all of Riggs' attention. Time and attention are gifts that you cannot put a price on, and this Pink Lady makes sure everyone she greets feels cared for.

"I believe we are put on this earth to help one another," she said. "If you are able to help someone else, then that is what you should be doing. I'm just a frustrated nurse, but I never went into that field."

But completing her college degree 50 years after she graduated high school may have put the icing on the cake.

"My degree is in psychology and sociology," she said. "I figured that could always be used to help others.

"I graduated 50 years after I graduated high school so I have always used (my degree) to volunteer."

Riggs is a wife of 32 years, mother of four and grandmother of seven.

"I am known as a hugger at church," she said as she and Laynie exchanged another hug.

"I am a people lover. I love visiting with the patients and listening to them. I have always joined the hospital auxiliary where ever I lived."

She has been a volunteer at hospitals in Scottsdale and in California. And besides that work, Riggs serves as the co-coordinator for the Ladies Auxiliary, so you can add attending weekly meetings and arranging for monthly speakers to the list of volunteer services Riggs offers.

If you are interested in joining the team with Riggs, contact Mogollon Health Alliance at (928) 472-2588.

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