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92-year-old WWII veteran says walking, volunteering at hospital keep him healthy, happy

May 13, 2019

Four days a week, Harvey Terrill wakes up and walks a few blocks from his home to his volunteer job at Baptist Medical Center downtown. Perched at the front desk of the Surgical Waiting Area, he coordinates with the physicians and nurses to connect families with their loved ones undergoing surgery – sometimes 45 surgical cases a day. What makes this seemingly standard task extraordinary is that Harvey is in his ninth decade of life and isn’t slowing down.

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“It’s a team effort here,” 92-year-old Terrill said. “God’s given me the time and I don’t feel like it’s work. I enjoy it.” he said. Terrill said he’s grown alongside Baptist Medical Center. Born in 1927 in the tiny town of Sayers, about 20 miles south of San Antonio, Terrill said Baptist Medical Center, which opened in 1903, was the hospital he and his family counted on for care. “We were farmers and so they helped us stay strong so we could get back up on our tractors and go,” he said.

Deployed to Japan in 1945, Terrill served in the Army Air Corp. Infantry during War II for four years. Aleesa Walker, volunteer manager for BMC, said Terrill has amazing life experiences, is wise, resilient and has a soft spot for our patients and families. “You’ll see him with his basket of cookies as he hands them out to those in the waiting area,” Walker said. “He’s got an infectious smile and laugh. He’s an example to all of us of how to live a healthy life physically, mentally and spiritually. He doesn’t let aches or pains stop him,” she said.

Terrill said he enjoys giving back to the hospital and said he receives more than he gives in return when he’s able to reassure patients’ families, pray with them and help the doctors connect with them. A volunteer at BMC since 1994, Terrill is the hospital’s oldest active volunteer and has volunteered more than 22,000 hours of his time there.

“I just keep moving and going every day because I can and it keeps me smiling,” Terrill said.

For more information, please contact: Natalie Gutierrez, 210-260-7250 (C) or email Natalie.gutierrez@baptisthealthsystem.com

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