Faces of RMHC – Betty Carroll

As we have driven past the construction site of our new House this week and watch it continue to look more and more like a home by the day, it’s hard not to reflect on the 37 years of warm memories and all of the nostalgia associated with the thousands of families who we have crossed paths with during that time. Can you believe we provided more than 70,000 nights of hospitality and care to families with sick children in the original House?

While there are now more than 350 RMHC chapters operating all across the globe, we were only the 49th to open its doors to families. One dedicated and passionate volunteer of ours that has been with us since the beginning is Betty Carroll.

“My nephew, Charles Hickmott, was involved as an advertising agency employee in the promotion of the Ronald McDonald House of Amarillo as it was being built and in its opening activities.  He encouraged me to become a volunteer and I joined up the year after it was opened.”

We have now enjoyed her company for 3 hours each week for nearly 35 years. And when it comes to why she continues to volunteer after three and a half decades?

“[It’s] the opportunity to meet and learn the stories of the families staying at the house as well as the House staff that was dedicated to making it a home for them.”

With the digital age in full effect that has caused virtually all industries and areas of our lives to evolve, many changes and technological upgrades have been made to our day-to-day operations and routine methods at the House as well. In the past 25 years, all of our data and donor information has migrated from paper to computer databases. Betty was a part of the transition, and has been our longest-serving data entry volunteer at the House.

“Before the computer era the volunteers were sometimes invited by the nursing staff at Northwest to come to the NICU and rock and hold and give a little extra love to some newborns that they felt needed more human contact.”

It’s the rocking and loving on babies that has gone down in Betty’s book as one of her favorite memories with the Ronald McDonald House. She has also had fun helping with the annual pro-am golf tournament and just hearing the “many heart-warming stories shared with us by families who stay in the House.”

In addition to reading, talking on the phone, and planning some big cleaning/organizing projects, Betty has also taken on learning some new skills during the pandemic. While most of us in the working world have taken a liking to so many technological resources at our disposal to help activities run smoothly during quarantine, Betty has also done so as she has learned to engage in “Zoom” meetings with family and her Sunday school class. When it’s time to kick back, Betty has looked forward to catching up on some good classic series on TV, like The Waltons and Touched by an Angel.

Once this pandemic has passed, Betty will be most anxious to actually get back to “aisle shopping” in the stores, as well as enjoy good in-person visits with friends and of course, make it back to church. If you run into Betty at McDonald’s after our lives have returned to a more normal setting, you just might catch her having breakfast and coffee-her favorite time to enjoy the Golden Arches.

Betty has been a part of Team RMHC for virtually longer than our entire working staff combined, which really goes to show just how much our mission means to her!

“[Serving] makes my life more interesting and makes me appreciate the special needs of families whose children require medical attention and the hard work that goes into providing this kind of service to families with very special needs. Three cheers for the Ronald staff!”

On behalf of the Ronald staff…three very big cheers back to you, Betty!