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Volunteer Profile: Shirley Bell

Published November 2020 | In Winter 2020

Long past the age when most people retire, Shirley Bell can still be found in the gift shop at Monument Health—a position she has held for 45 years.

Volunteer Profile: Shirley Bell Media

Even more remarkably, she has never been paid a dime for her services...and that’s exactly how this feisty 81-year old wants it. “They thought about paying me, but I said no,” she explains. “I took this job to volunteer and that’s all I want to do!”

Why do you volunteer?

St. John’s Hospital Auxiliary placed an ad in 1973 looking for volunteers to work in the gift shop. I couldn’t do it during the week so I said I would work on Saturday. I enjoy meeting with people and helping them. It’s just the way I’ve always been. 

How has your role changed over the years?

When I started, there wasn’t even a cash register—just a box to put the money in and a piece of paper for jotting down every sale. St. John’s merged with Bennett-Clarkson and eventually became Regional Health, and now Monument. 

What keeps you going after all this time?

When I take on something, I do it. It’s almost like I’ve got a paid job because I’m there every Saturday. Nobody else wants that weekend job, but I’ve always enjoyed it.

How would you respond to people who say they would love to volunteer but don’t have the time?

Make some time! Even if it’s only a couple of hours a week, just volunteer. 

How long will you continue volunteering?

Everybody says, “Shirley, when are you going to retire?” And I tell them, never! I want to volunteer at the hospital as long as I can. 

The Auxillary provided $60,000 to pay for artwork for three floors in the North Tower of Rapid City Hospital.

The Volunteer Auxiliary has donated over $4 million to programs, projects and specialized equipment for Rapid City Hospital since 1974.