(ran TP edition)
William Howard works at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa about 80 hours a month. He takes specimens to the lab and records, charts and X-rays to other departments in the hospital.
"It gives me a purpose in life and affords me the opportunity to meet and greet patients, visitors and staff throughout the hospital," he says. "I derive pleasure and satisfaction from comforting patients and their families."
Howard was born in Passaic, N.J. His formal education ended with the sixth grade. This energetic, creative man was self-employed by age 7 and worked hard all his life until failing health caused him to retire. He began his career shining shoes on a street corner and progressed to being a chef and restaurant owner. By the time he retired, he was designing and making furniture, and he continues to enjoy woodworking as a hobby.
Howard and his wife, Helen, raised four children, Christina, Wayne, Kimberly and Shanna. They have eight grandchildren now to keep them busy, but Howard still finds time for his volunteer work, which benefits so many.
His credo "has always been if I run the gantlet of a day and do not say a kind word or do a good deed for someone, I feel I have lost a whole day. I believe that God has not put us on this Earth to be a separate entity unto ourselves. I believe that we are put here to comfort and nurture one another."
Howard was a 1996 recipient of the RSVP Volunteer of the Year Honorable Mention Award.
_ Write to Hillsborough County RSVP c/o Seniority, the Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.
Retired and Senior Volunteer Program: 272-5031
Volunteer Center of Hillsborough: 274-0909
Volunteer Services: 871-7097