One Christmas Eve, when I was a child, my family heard the sound of a tremendous crash on our paved country road,” Betty Coleman recalls. “Mom yelled for me to call the Highway Patrol and the local doctor, then to bring blankets and run!” When Betty raced to the accident scene, “Mom was giving mouth-to-mouth to the baby. She sent me to the backseat to hold the 3-year-old girl, since I was their babysitter.
Afterward, the hug from the local doctor and watching those two girls grow up made me know that I could make a difference by running to help, not running away.” Fortunately for the Lake community, Betty has never stopped running to help others. Her selfless strides help empower myriad others.
Just one jubilant jog for Betty currently is being president of Lake Regional Health System’s Auxiliary. She’s logged numerous hours as a team member volunteering at desks in the ER, front and surgery waiting room. She also has co-chaired two hospital balls. Currently, Betty is piloting the Comfort Cart and a mentoring program for their new volunteers. Also, she co-coordinates the junior volunteer program.
Betty shares, “Through the junior volunteer position, I have the opportunity to be on the advisory board for the health careers department at Lake Career and Technical Center in Camdenton.” Volunteering in education comes easily to Betty, as she held various positions in Iowa education for 33 years. For 22 years she was an elementary school teacher. She attained her Masters of Arts in Education and Masters in Administration. With these degrees she became a high school/middle school principal, then an adjunct professor for the University of Northern Iowa and Kirkwood Community College.
“I enjoyed collaborating with other educators to develop institutes, help local districts and present teaching strategies for local districts,” she elaborates. It was during this time that she became a national presenter for Northwest Evaluation Association, traveling as a consultant and professional development presenter.
In 2007, she laced up her shoes full-time in Lake Ozark. She and her husband Doug, (having owned a condo here since 1993), joined their daughter, Erin, also a teacher, her husband, Mike Elley, two “fantastic” grandsons, Drew, 12, and Ryan, 8. “They are the lights of our lives,” Betty beams. Then in 2012, Betty ran through the celebratory, finish-line tape as she officially retired from presenting, based out of Marion, Iowa, but not from running her race towards excellence.
The spotlight was recently on Betty as she received one of the “Going the Extra Mile” awards during the School of the Osage’s first annual awards dinner. Not resting on the sidelines long, Betty again gives so others can gain. She serves on the Community Foundation of the Lake as a board member and chairs their grant review committee.
“This organization is making an impact by assisting in building the educational, cultural, health and economic development of our community,” Betty explains. “During her nine years of service to Lake Regional Hospital Auxiliary, Betty has provided outstanding leadership,” says Michael E. Henze, CEO of Lake Regional Health System. “Not only has Betty served as Auxiliary president and on the group’s strategic planning committee, she chaired the annual Hospital Ball for two years, raising $75,000 for the purchase of medical equipment. In addition, she has led our junior volunteer program for the past five years, creating outstanding opportunities for area youth.”
“The Auxiliary plays an integral role in our organization, supporting patients and visitors and fundraising for our future success,” Henze says. “We are grateful to have the support of such talented, dedicated individuals as Betty.” “Where there is a need, go for it,” was advice given to Betty years ago by a national administrator of the Red Cross. Each time Betty is asked to contribute her time or sees a need, she says yes. “Every time I volunteer, I have been the greater recipient,” Betty says, smiling. “The joys from the immediate hugs, thank you’s, and watching others’ lives change are the true blessings of volunteering,” she summarizes.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING HERE AT THE LAKE?
Our family loves “Lake Time.” We enjoy spending time with family and friends boating, riding Jet Skis, fishing and just hanging out on our dock. Doug and I like to play golf and cards with friends. We regularly participate in the charity events around the Lake and enjoy meeting the amazing people in this community. The special highlight of our life is attending all of the grandsons’ school, church and athletic events. We are so blessed to be able to spend time with them.
DO YOU ENJOY READING? IF SO, DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVORITES READS?
I am a member of the Pageturners Book Club. We are a diverse group so we have a variety of great reads each year. My favorite books are usually the ones I am currently reading!
DO YOU HAVE ANY ROLE MODELS?
My immediate and extended family are my role models. I have learned from them by their caring actions my entire life.
DO YOU HAVE FUTURE PLANS?
I always have something in mind, but it might not be at the surface at the moment. My passion for volunteering keeps my mind open to any possibility that might arise.•