You won’t find many 93-year-olds actively volunteering in their communities, much less serving at the same organization for 35 years. Avadele Short is not your average volunteer.
A chartered member of Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital’s Volunteer Auxiliary, Short began volunteering in 1981, shortly after the hospital first opened. She is the only chartered member, an original founding member, still volunteering today proudly serving two days a week.
Katy, Texas, is the only home Short has ever known. She and her late husband, who also volunteered at Memorial Hermann Katy, wanted to get more involved in their community and as she puts it, “get out of the house.”
At the time, Memorial Hermann Katy, formerly located on Pin Oak Road, was the only hospital in the area and had a special significance to her. Both she and her mother were patients at Memorial Hermann Katy, so the hospital seemed to be the right fit to volunteer her time. Throughout her tenure, she has seen the hospital grow over the years and move to its new location on I-10 and Highway 99.
With the growth of buildings and services, the volunteer team, originally 45 members, has also flourished with Short’s help. Today, approximately 300 volunteers serve at the hospital including junior volunteers. “I have enjoyed serving with the many volunteers over the years forming close friendships and, in most recent years, getting to know the junior volunteers. It’s wonderful to work with them and see young people today wanting to give back to their communities, the same reason I began volunteering,” said Short.
Short serves in the Volunteer Services office with Heather Rojas, manager, volunteer services at Memorial Hermann Katy, assisting with administrative needs and assembling ID bracelets and brochures. Over the years, Short has assisted with transporting patients, aiding with wheelchairs and delivering cookies and flowers to patients’ rooms.
“Avadele is a great example of how the Katy community supports one another. She has been a fixture within this hospital for over three decades, and we appreciate greatly her continued commitment to the patients, staff and our services,” said Rojas. “We have many volunteers who’ve served at this hospital for more than 10 years, and I think it reflects the neighborly attitude that many people in Katy possess.”
Memorial Hermann Katy recently celebrated volunteers, both past and present, who have supported the hospital’s operations throughout its 35-year history. Short received a pin for reaching 10,000 volunteer hours at the event, one of only two volunteers having achieved this level at Memorial Hermann Katy.
In 2015, U.S. Representative Pete Olson recognized Short with an Award of Distinction for her 34 years of dedicated service to Memorial Hermann Katy in the U.S. House of Representatives. Most recently, Katy Magazine recognized 10 outstanding Katy citizens who have given back to the community in 2016 in their “Katy People of the Year 2016” feature, where Short was also honored.
Short doesn’t plan to slow down any time soon. She will continue to offer her time and care to Memorial Hermann Katy for as long as she can. And, they are happy to have her. “I continue to volunteer because of the relationships I’ve established while here at Memorial Hermann. They’re like my family now,” said Short.
Adult and teen volunteer opportunities, clinical and non-clinical, are available throughout the Memorial Hermann Health System. If you are interested in volunteering with one of Memorial Hermann’s locations, please visit the website at Give & Volunteer.