Barbara Wenzel, Jeanne Ramsey, Beryl Jarvis
Barbara Wenzel, Jeanne Ramsey, Beryl Jarvis

For more than 15 years, Barbara Wenzel has been a key member of the A.G. Rhodes Wesley Woods family. She greets staff and residents by name as she walks through the halls, and even when she approaches residents who don’t speak, their eyes show recognition as Wenzel gently touches their hands and says good morning.

She’s at the nursing home so often that if you didn’t know any better, you’d assume she worked there. But Wenzel is not an employee, rather she spends two to three days a week at A.G. Rhodes as a devoted volunteer.

“This is my second home,” says Wenzel, who is almost 82-years-young herself.

Wenzel started volunteering at A.G. Rhodes when her mother lived there in the late 1990s. After her mother passed away, she formed such bonds with other residents that she felt called to stay.

“After mother passed away, they [other residents] said, ‘You’re not going to leave us are you?’ That hit me right in the heart, and I said no.”

Wenzel starts her day at A.G. Rhodes around 6:30 a.m. She helps get the dining hall ready for residents to eat breakfast, she serves them coffee, sits and talks with them as they eat, and she helps clean up after the meal.

The employees are incredibly grateful for the extra help, but more importantly, the compassion that she shows the residents. Sandra Stapleton, long-term care unit manager who has worked at A.G. Rhodes for nearly 20 years and remembers when Wenzel’s mother was a resident, says Wenzel treats all of the residents like family. She even brings gifts to residents during the holidays.

“She’s adopted everyone here,” says Stapleton.

Wenzel also spends much of her volunteer time helping residents get to and from the beauty salon. Beryl Jarvis runs the salon and says that when Wenzel isn’t there to help, the workload is noticeably higher.

“You can tell when Barbara’s not here,” says Jarvis. “She’s a Godsend.”

Jarvis says Wenzel does more than just transport residents. She sits with them, asks them about their day and listens to their stories.

“She comforts all of them. She talks to them, laughs with them and keeps them company,” says Jarvis.

The residents are appreciative.

“She’s so good to everybody,” says Jeanne Ramsey, a resident at the home. “She’s a good ole gal.”

Wenzel says this is where she belongs, and that one day when she can no longer live on her own, she wants to live at A.G. Rhodes.

“This is my life. This is my family. I love it,” says Wenzel.


Throughout the month of April, and especially during National Volunteer Week April 10-16, 2016, we will celebrate special volunteers who make a lasting difference in the lives of seniors in our community. Stay tuned for May’s edition of the e-newsletter to see more stories and photos highlighting our volunteers.


National Volunteer Week, brought to you by Points of Light since 1974, is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities.