Inspiration comes in all forms, but there is something special about the stories of people who overcome adversity to achieve a goal. Wayne Dixon’s goal was both simple and profound. He wanted to help people. He wanted to feel needed.
Wayne is among the nearly 200 volunteers at Floyd. He serves a two hour shift a couple of times a week at the North Entrance welcome desk. There, he greets and escorts visitors and patients, who usually register a look of surprise when he rolls his wheelchair from behind the desk to escort them to their destination.
Wayne has cerebral palsy, a disease that has gradually cost him much of his mobility and slurred his speech, but he doesn’t let that stop him. He’s a lifetime volunteer who started with the volunteer fire department in the south Georgia town where he lived with his family. After his son started school, Wayne, who was unable to work due to his disability, looked for something he could do other than sit at home. He trained as an EMT and served in that role with the volunteer fire department for many years.
When he moved back to Rome a couple of years ago, after a 30-year absence, Wayne didn’t waste any time in looking for opportunities to serve. Someone told him to contact Floyd Medical Center, and he did.
When Amy Astin, director of Volunteer Services, first met Wayne she carefully explained the expectations, the orientation process and the work involved. She wasn’t sure he’d return, but Wayne did. He completed orientation and quickly signed up for the role that best matched his abilities and schedule.
He was assigned to be a greeter at the North Entrance of Floyd Medical Center. He has made friends with hospital staff who come and go to the parking deck. And he is a dependable greeter and escort to the patients and guests who enter there. That constant interaction has provided him with additional opportunities to serve at the Main Entrance as well.
If a volunteer can’t fill a shift, Wayne is the first to offer his time, and he never fails to show up. A medical setback forced him to take a break in August, but Wayne was quick to ask to be added to the schedule when he was cleared to return to duty.
Wayne is an inspiration. Where others would say they can’t, Wayne says he can. Where others say it’s too hard, Wayne says it’s harder to do nothing. Where some might focus on a disability, Wayne insists on focusing on his abilities.
In many ways, serving at Floyd Medical Center is like coming home. Wayne was born at Floyd. He had numerous surgeries here as a child and teenager, and that gives him a sense of empathy that enhances his role. He knows how comforting it can be to have a friendly face and helping hand at the ready. And, now, he is the supplier of those things.
Dressed in his Floyd hat, Wayne mans his position and waits for the opportunities that always come.
Wayne said he volunteers because it makes him feel good, and in helping, he realizes his goal: Wayne is needed.