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Betty and Magician at her birthday

Betty Holzapfel Smith, a Hosparus Health volunteer for over 4 years, celebrated her 85th birthday in July with a big party for her family and friends. In her invitation she told her guests, “Please no gifts,” instead asking them to make a birthday donation to Hosparus Health.

That’s because Betty’s mother, sister and husband, Dr. Amory C. Smith, were all in the care of Hosparus Health. Seeing our professional staff and volunteers give their compassionate care and concern touched Betty deeply. After learning what a volunteer can do, Betty decided she wanted to give as much time and energy as she could to be a part of Hosparus Health.

Betty is the mother of 4 adult children, 3 adult step children, 13 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. She has taken tap dancing lessons, was the president of a thriving women’s club, and began her volunteer work all in the last 5 years. She was ordained a Catholic woman Deacon in 2013 (Association Roman Catholic Woman Priests). She has been a life-long educator and Administrator of Catholic and public schools in Louisville and Burlington, VT.

After retiring from education, she was an Assistant Manager for Barnes & Noble books for 18 years. As a member of the Louisville Compassionate Elder Counsel, Betty also engages in dialogues with seniors and the community members concerning being compassionate to oneself.

Betty’s time as a Hosparus Health patient support volunteer has become a ministry and a focus of her busy life. While visiting in nursing homes and hospitals, Betty reads to, prays with and listens to her patients as they share their life stories. She’s even been known to tap dance for a few of them.

We’re excited to share that her birthday party was a huge hit! She greeted everyone with hugs, and every guest received a name tag and a box of “Encouragemints.” There were tables decorated with all kinds of items from the year she was born, including her mother’s washboard.

Another table had information on Hosparus Health and donation envelopes, to make it easy for guests to give “birthday presents” in her honor. Guests included Betty’s family, neighbors and friends, both old and new. Betty gave a beautiful speech that included a lovely poem she wrote. A DJ played music from every decade of Betty’s life, a friend and her granddaughter tap-danced, and Darsh the Magician performed exciting illusions after dinner. He and Betty reminded us all that magic is everywhere.

When asked why she wanted donations to be made to Hosparus Health in lieu of gifts, she said, “I don’t need a thing. I think giving a donation makes people more aware of the services that are available and is a small way to contribute. Hosparus Health thrives on the generosity of the community.”

Thanks, Betty, for everything you do for Hosparus Health, and Happy Birthday from all of us!!

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