Dedicated Couple Finds Different Ways to Give to JPS

April 18th, 2019

Even before she retired last year from her job handling accounts receivable, Fort Worth resident Julie Jacobs was thinking about the days when she would spend her time attending to a task that’s a little more warm and fuzzy.

“I saw a report on TV about people who cuddle babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and I went to work trying to figure out how I could make that happen,” said Jacobs, who celebrated her first anniversary as a JPS Health Network volunteer April 12. “I was very determined that this was what I wanted to do.”

Julie Jacobs

Julie Jacobs

 

She was so set on spending her free days at JPS, Julie talked her husband, Rick, into signing up as a volunteer at the health network, too.

“I don’t want to hold babies,” Rick said with a laugh. “I mean, love babies. But they seem so fragile and I’m afraid I’ll break them. So I decided I could be more useful doing something else, like working at the information desk.”

Rick sits just inside the front door of the JPS Patient Care Pavilion where he gives instructions, guides people to the places they need to be and soothes the jangled nerves of those who are either sick or injured or who arrive in search of a family member who they just found out is sick or injured.

“They do completely different things, go to different places, but they wanted to volunteer together, so we make sure they can do that,” said Kim Pinter, manager of Volunteer Services at JPS. “We’re so grateful that they chose to donate their time to JPS and its patients. There are so many opportunities here. If people want to volunteer, we can find the perfect fit for them.”

Julie estimates she has held two or three babies a week in her year of pursing her labor of love, somewhere between 100-150 tiny infants who often have to spend extended time away from their families during lengthy stays in the NICU.

“I love it,” Julie said. “My grandson is in New York, so I don’t get to see him as much as I like. This is where I get my baby time. I could never get tired of it. Even when I’m at church or out someplace else, if I see one I say, ‘I’ve just got to hold that baby.’”

Rick got a little bit later start, joining JPS as a volunteer in October.

Rick Jacobs

Rick Jacobs

“I feel like it’s a positive way to spend my time,” Rick said. “It’s good to be able to be of service to the community. It makes me feel good to contribute.”

He said the toughest part of his job is trying to be quick with information while being sensitive to the fact that sometimes people who come to the Emergency Department aren’t in the best of spirits.

“If someone is upset, I don’t take it personally,” Rick said. “I know they’re nervous and concerned. I’m not afraid of that, I just want to be as helpful to people as possible.”

While Julie said she is sure Rick would do just fine with the babies in the NICU should he decide he wants to volunteer there, she’s glad he doesn’t. If he did, then there would be fewer babies for her to cuddle. She loves holding babies so much, in fact, she sometimes does in two at a time.

“One day twin babies were crying and I said I would take them both,” Julie said. “I held one in each arm and they went right to sleep. It was wonderful. I feel truly blessed to be able to do this.”


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