Louise Noren has been a volunteer at Taylorville Memorial Hospital since the then established St. Vincent Memorial Hospital first started having volunteers in the early 1950’s, giving over 65 years of service. Beginning in the coffee shop where they had carts for coffee and snacks, she was put in charge of the candy stripers. Since there, she has volunteered in several positions, including serving as an officer of the TMH Auxiliary since 2001.
Having never learned how to drive a car, she has walked everywhere she needed to go, including to the TMH Auxiliary gift shop where she still serves as a volunteer two days a week. In fact, she credits her daily walks at Manners Park everyday for nearly 50 years for keeping her active. A recent back surgery has limited her time walking and she thankfully has great friends who assist her getting around.
Noren, who moved to Taylorville in 1949, is the mother of three children - two sons and a daughter - and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. One of her sons is a nurse in Hawaii and she has been able to visit him there 13 times. She loves that from his house it is just a 30 minute walk to Waikiki Beach.
Known for her strong support of the sisters of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, she talks about how one in particular became a dear friend. After the birth of one of her children, Sister Barbara Ann helped Noren get up and moving again, aiding in her recovery. This led to a long-lasting friendship that continued until Sister Barbara Ann’s death. To this day, Noren will still have dinner, spend the night or even go fishing with the sisters.
A kind and compassionate woman, Noren is often thinking of how she can help and support others. In addition to currently serving as the past president of the TMH Auxiliary another way she does this is by giving Saint Teresa medals to those she feels could use them. To date, she has given 186 medals away in hopes that it will bring some comfort.
When asked about who she thinks would benefit from volunteering, Noren stated “Anyone who has lost a spouse. It will get you around people and make you feel good. It has definitely helped since the passing of my husband.”
At almost 88-years-old, Noren doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. You will likely catch her at the next TMH Auxiliary hosted event or other community fundraising function selling her famous “nose to toes” 50/50 tickets. “I’ll probably volunteer until I die,” she said with a laugh. “I always feel so good after a volunteer shift. Unless life is lived for others, it is not worthwhile.”
If you or anyone you know would like to volunteer with wonderful members of our community like Noren, the TMH Auxiliary welcomes anyone who would like to support TMH’s mission to improve the health of the people and communities it serves. Currently the TMH Auxiliary is working to upgrade cardiopulmonary rehabilitation monitoring equipment and just completed its fourth free babysitting clinic. If interested contact Debbie Johnson, Volunteer Coordinator 824-1677.