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Maurice “Mo” Laws, 81

Fulton resident honored by Oswego Hospital for working 1,660 volunteer hours in one year

By Matthew Liptak

Q. How’d you get involved with volunteering?

A. “It’s a long story, but the short portion of it is, I was advised by my doctor to get out of the house and do something. So I got out of the house and started volunteering seven years ago. I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Q. What do you do at the hospital?

A. “I’m here at 7 o’clock in the morning and I get out about 3. I’m here five days a week, Monday through Friday. I get here first thing in the morning. We have a newspaper delivery program. I make sure that all the offices get those first thing in the morning. After that I do some of the billing that comes in. I date-stamp that and take it up to the office. I’m mainly at the main desk. I do everything — transport the patients, take up flowers, candy baskets — all the little things. We have fun doing everything. I’m right there when you walk. I direct a lot of people. People come in to the hospital and don’t know where to go.”

Q. What do you enjoy about it?

A. “Just talking to people — making them smile. That is a personal challenge since I came here, to get everyone to smile and say good morning, hello, how are you? I’ve been in contact with people all my life through my other two careers. It’s just being around people and satisfying their needs makes me feel better.

Q. What were your other careers?

A. “I retired after 30 years in retail. And I was 20 years at Miller Brewing Company.”

Q. How are you motivated to help people?

A. “I’ve been around people — basically the elderly and the handicapped. I had a handicapped son. My wife and I did a lot of volunteering wherever we were ever since 1960 — off and on. We volunteered down in Florida for six or seven years. When we were here my boy was in the handicapped school. We did the volunteering, the bus trips and all that, with them.

Q. Do you have any particularly memorable moments from volunteering?

A. “Probably the big surprise birthday for my 80th birthday. That was awesome. It was excellent. Even my daughter showed up. It was a total surprise. We had it here in the hospital cafeteria. There was cake and tons of flowers and presents. A lot of good people showed up. The people at the hospital, they’re my family now. I consider them my family because I spend just about half my awake hours here.”

Q. How do you feel about being recognized by the hospital?

A. “That was another big surprise. It was just an amazing night. The people were just great. I enjoyed it. There was another gentleman form St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse. We both got volunteer-of-the-year for all of Central New York. We had a nice dinner at the Welch Allyn lodge. It’s a beautiful venue out there.

Q. How long do you hope to keep volunteering?

A. “As long as they’ll have me. As long as I’m able to I’ll be here.

Q. Do you recommend volunteering?

A. “It’s good for everybody. We need volunteers. We have high school children all the way through one that’s 91 years old. It’s a great rewarding feeling to see people healthy going home, and people that are coming in that need help, we get them to the proper office. I have fun. I enjoy doing it.

Q. Is there anything else I haven’t covered you’d like to say?

A. “Have a great day!”