Centenarian says she still delights in helping others

Learn more about a delightful lady who celebrated her 100th birthday at the same organization where she regularly volunteers …

Friends and co-volunteers line up for treats, as well as a slice of cake at Adventist Medical Center volunteer Vida Trout’s birthday cake.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Among the hundreds of outer East Portland volunteers at Adventist Medical Center (AMC), in the Mill Park Neighborhood, one woman – Vida Trout – stands out for many reasons.

“We’re so glad to have her at the hospital,” said AMC Director of Volunteer Services Meldra Driscoll at Vida’s 100th Birthday Party held at the hospital. “We’re so proud of her work, and so happy that she’s so actively helping.”

Driscoll pointed out that Trout isn’t just an occasional volunteer; she’s logged more than 1,200 hours of service so far.

Centenarian Vida Trout is honored at the celebration of her 100th birthday by AMC Chief Operating Officer Ron Benfield.

After welcoming guests and co-volunteers to the celebration, AMC Chief Operating Officer Ron Benfield, said, “We like to honor all of our volunteers; but today, especially Vida, who has reached the point of living 100 years.”

Benfield continued, “Our volunteers, and we have close to 400 of them, make a real difference every day in the experience for our patients. They’re here to do things that are important parts of making our organization what it is.”

Seated in front of her friends in the AMC’s lower atrium, Vida Trout smiles at her birthday party.

“For example,” Benfield continued, “we have volunteers to help escort patients. Vida is one of those who escorts visitors throughout the building, helping them get where they need to go.  We also have folks at the door who greet people as they come in, and make sure they know where they’re going, and where to find the patient they are visiting.”

In fact, Benfield added, AMC volunteers fulfill about 100 different “job descriptions” at the medical center.

He then put the honoree’s birth year into context. “In 1912, the Titanic sank; Howard Taft was president, and Woodrow Wilson was elected president; Olympic games were held in Stockholm, Sweden – and, the Portland Sanitarium – the original Portland Adventist Hospital, on SE Belmont Street at the foot of Mt. Tabor – had already been in operation for 19 years.”

AMC Director of Volunteer Services Meldra Driscoll shows photos illustrating fashion styles of a century ago.

Then, co-volunteers and staff members were invited to share their thoughts about Trout.

“Although she pushes wheelchairs and helps you find your way, more importantly, she provides fellowship for our patients, our visitors,” said volunteer Ronnie Erika. “And, watch out when she has a pool cue in her hand!”

With a slice of her birthday cake, Trout spoke with East Portland News about the celebration. “Actually, I’m 100 plus two days, now,” confided Trout.

Asked which technological change fascinated her most, Trout replied. “It certainly has to be computers. Now, mind you, I don’t understand computers – or want to understand them! But, computers have really changed the world.”

As to why she actively volunteers, Trout commented, “Well, if I just sat around, I might get bedsores!”

She added, “The best part about volunteering here is that I feel very gratified to find something that I can do it is helpful to others. I enjoy being of service.”

Co-volunteers greet Vida Trout as she finishes her slice of birthday cake.

With that, Trout finished her cake, and continued accepting birthday greetings from the 50 or so celebrants. We, too, wish her a happy birthday!

Find out more about Adventist Medical Center at their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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