Emiline Reifsnyder of Lansing isn't about to disrupt her routine as a volunteer at the Sparrow Hospital Gift Shop, even though her granddaughter, Jordyn Wieber, is marching in the Olympic opening ceremonies tonight and is competing for a gymnastics gold medal.
Reifsnyder, 81, has been volunteering at Sparrow for more than 20 years and was dutifully working at the gift shop's front desk this week. No matter how her world champion gymnast granddaughter fares in the Olympics, Reifsnyder plans to keep giving back to the community and Sparrow visitors and Patients.
"I'll still be here next week," she said. "You have to be responsible when you volunteer. We take it very seriously, but we like to have a lot of fun, too."
Still, Reifsnyder admits she'll be glued to the TV for the next few days, cheering Team USA to victory.
"The feeling is so hard to describe," she said. "I keep asking myself, 'is this happening?' We're all so proud of her."
Reifsnyder is one of about 1,600 volunteers who help to make Sparrow mid-Michigan's leader in providing quality, compassionate care. Her daughter and Jordyn's mother, Rita, is a nurse in Sparrow's Emergency Department.
"The people here at Sparrow are just great," Reifsnyder said. "The women I volunteer with are like sisters to me. It makes the experience that much more rewarding. To be around great people and help to put a smile on patients' faces is what makes this worthwhile."
Those interested in volunteering at Sparrow may call our Volunteer Services Department at 517.364.3606.
Picture caption: Emiline Reifsnyder holds a magazine with granddaughter Jordyn on the cover in Sparrow's Gift Shop.