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Almost 60 Years Of Bright Spirits

June 25, 2014, 6:20 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Almost 60 Years Of Bright Spirits

Most of us can't imagine working the same job for almost 60 years — let alone volunteering for the same organization or company that long. But a Sioux Falls woman has been volunteering with Sanford since 1955.

And with a big, loving smile, Dottie Paulson might remind you of your grandma, but she is anything but a typical 92 year old. This grandma of 20 and great-grandma of 36 has a Facebook account, texts and talks about "selfies."

"It keeps me off the streets is what it does," Paulson said.

She also volunteers at Sanford's Van Demark building once a week.

"Wednesday is the day I volunteer, and some weeks I can hardly wait until Wednesday," Paulson said.

Paulson started volunteering for Sanford back when it was called Sioux Valley. She was part of the Sioux Valley Auxiliary in 1955.

"I was a nurse, and I kind of liked the atmosphere of the hospital. That might have had something to do with it," Paulson said.

While Paulson works at the Van Demark information desk these days, she has also volunteered in the surgery waiting room and the gift shop.

"When I started, who knew I was going to be here sitting in this chair in 2014," Paulson said.

Throughout her years of volunteering, Paulson has been a staple for hospital staff.

Sanford Director of Volunteers, Nona Bixler, says Paulson has become an inspiration to others, including herself.

"She's taught me everything I know," Bixler said.

Bixler believes volunteering keeps people like Paulson young at heart, mind and body.

"We do have a couple volunteers that are in their 80's. I actually have one that is going to be 99 next month that volunteers here," Bixler said.

As for the main reason Paulson volunteers?

"Helping people. That's always the bottom line," Paulson said.

It's also the reason why Paulson says she has no plans to hang up her volunteer job anytime soon.

"Oh no. I'd be bored to death. What would I do on Wednesdays," Paulson said.

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