03 Feb Ronald McDonald House Volunteer Spotlight: Ingrid Hudspeth
1. Tell us something you’d like others to know about you.
I love to be with people. I love to thrift shop. I love to garden. I love to go on walks, especially with my friends. I love to exercise, and I have a group that have been doing classes together for over 10 years, at least twice each week. I love my family living so close to me, 2 granddaughters (Izzie and Madison), a sweet daughter-in-law (Shani), and of course our sweet son (Joel), and can’t forget the grand dog (Bruce)!
Randy and I have been married for 43 years and we lived overseas for just under 10 of those (visiting many countries during those years) and the rest between Washington State and Idaho. I am a registered nurse graduating from Washington State University’s Intercollegiate Center of Nursing. My career was mostly in administration and the most interesting journey that nursing took me on was in the mid 90’s when I had a Colonel of the Syrian Army as a patient, and he needed transport back to Syria. He was a quadriplegic and needed care throughout the transport having a tracheostomy requiring frequent airway management. He wanted me to be the nurse who transported him back to the military hospital in Damascus. Going to Syria and providing that care along with all the amazing people we met, things we saw and memories we made are among some of my most treasured times.
2. What is your usual volunteering job with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho?
Currently, I cover the front desk and any little jobs that can be done there. I also have enjoyed helping with a few of the major fundraisers over the years, like the Golf Tournament and the Sporting Clays Tournament.
3. How long have you been volunteering for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho?
I have been a volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House since 1997.
4. How did you become a volunteer? And as a volunteer, what drew you to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho?
In 1994 my son and I were visiting our family in Jerome, my father-in-law, ‘Spud’, became ill and diagnosed with a dissecting abdominal aneurysm. We had to make an emergency trip to Boise for a lifesaving surgery. There was my mother-in-law, Joel, and me, and we were told by the staff at the hospital that the Ronald McDonald House might have a place for us to stay since we had a child. We indeed were invited to stay because they had plenty of empty rooms just having completed their expansion. That stay was such an incredible gift, being able to be close to our sweet Spud. His hospital stay was 12 days, and during those days each person took a house duty like mopping the kitchen floor or cleaning the visitor bathroom or pulling weeds….whatever was needed to keep the House running smoothly. When I left, returning to the Middle East, I told the House Manager I had no idea where we would live some day when we returned to the States, but if we ever moved to Boise Idaho, I would come to see if I could volunteer at this special place.
5. What do you enjoy about being an RMHC of Idaho volunteer?
There are many things I enjoy about being an RMHC of Idaho volunteer! First, I love the staff. I love how everyone is so appreciative and happy to see volunteers. I value what the House gives to each family member, and how everyone is treated with respect and dignity. Over the years I have made wonderful friends meeting other volunteers and doing events together. I am proud to be a RMHC volunteer because of what the House provides to families in need, and how it is respected locally, nationally and all over the world.
6. In your time as an RMHC of Idaho volunteer, is there a meaningful moment or interaction you’ve carried with you?
One day, I was coming into the kitchen in our original house, there were 2 moms sitting at the small bar and both had devastating situations. I knew one of the Mom’s was living out of their camper trailer because they had just lost their housing. I also knew that the other Mom was from Seattle, and we had talked on a previous day about her kitchen and how she loved her 8-burner gas range. I don’t think either of these 2 women were talking about kitchens as they sat that day sharing what was happening in their child’s medical care. Suddenly, I was so aware of how equalizing a child’s illness becomes! It doesn’t matter if you have a huge house with an 8-burner stove or if you are living out of a camper, you both need the same love, care, encouragement and support and they were giving that to each other besides us supporting them as well.
7. What advice do you have for other volunteers (either current or onboarding) who are connected to RMHC of Idaho?
Continue to support the House through your time and other ways as you find fits your heart. If you want to try volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House in Boise you will be greeted with lots of support, kindness, and welcoming arms. There are many ways to volunteer: Cooking and helping with special events or needs around the House and yard. Some of my most wonderful memories come from hearing someone play the piano or violin as I was working elsewhere in the House. Decorating for holidays is always another wonderful way to volunteer. Every day is different, so what is needed on one day may be different the next. I guess my main advice is that if you do decide to volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House, if you are like me, you will leave each day feeling like you got a whole lot more than you just gave.