Story by: Maggie Roetker on March 5, 2021
For the past 13 years, Fred Bennett has assumed the role of “candy man” at the gift shop in Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital. This dedicated volunteer is known for ensuring that staff and visitors have access to plenty of sweet treats by taking care of ordering, stocking and organizing candy, as well as other snacks available for purchase. The gift shop is run by volunteers with the TWIGS organization to raise funds for Norton Children’s Hospital. The group’s name stands for Together With Important Goals Shared.
In addition to his work in the gift shop, Fred is involved with various TWIGS fundraising projects including the North Harrison Elementary School annual fundraiser in Southern Indiana and the Festival of Trees & Lights, both of which benefit Norton Children’s.
The pandemic brought a halt to volunteer activities at the hospital last March and then, in November, Fred was diagnosed with brain cancer. In mid-January, he entered hospice care.
On Wednesday, March 3, hospital administrators gathered in front of Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital to dedicate a tree in honor of Fred, showing him how much his dedication and loyalty to the gift shop, and his efforts to raise funds for children in our community mean to everyone.
“Fred is a favorite volunteer with all of the staff here,” said Rita Ross, manager of volunteer services. “Since he hasn’t been able to be here with us for a while, and while he is still with us, we wanted to do something symbolic to show him how much we care about him and are thinking of him.
“He has always been willing to help us out in any way, and we want to show him we are there for him.”
In 2019, Fred was honored for his volunteer efforts with a Bell Award, which is given to those who show the “spirit of Louisville.”
While Norton Healthcare facilities are not currently on-boarding new volunteers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may still sign up to be contacted when opportunities are available. Learn more.