Candy stripers boss says goodbye to ‘grandchildren’ |

Candy stripers boss says goodbye to ‘grandchildren’

John HartNancy Kimbrough puts ice in a cup for a patient at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Monday.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Nancy Kimbrough recently said goodbye to her 40 grandchildren.

Well, they’re not really her grandchildren.

But that’s how the Lake Wildwood woman felt about the “candy stripers,” a group of about 40 high school and Sierra College students who help Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.

In January, Kimbrough stepped down as head of the candy stripers, formally known as the Student Auxiliary Department. Stripers spend one day a week in their chosen department doing activities such as greeting patients, making beds, answering phones, or stamping charts.

To Kimbrough, the student volunteers were more like family. As a former Bay Area elementary school teacher, she always had a love for children. Because she can’t spend much time with her four, out-of-state grandchildren, Kimbrough has grown very fond of the students.

After the death of her husband of 50 years in 1995, Kimbrough began volunteering at the hospital.

Originally, she had not planned to work with the candy stripers, but a temporary position turned into five years of work.

Kimbrough’s job consists of heading the fall and spring orientation sessions, sending out monthly charts, and basically being there when the students have problems.

She feels her role is similar to teaching. “I love teaching, keeping close to young people,” Kimbrough said. She also spends time at the hospital’s front desks, gift shop and nursing floors.

Her co-worker Maggie McNamee said she is “one of the most delightful ladies I ever met. Patients love her.”

To Kimbrough, volunteering is “most rewarding. (It) means a lot to me to help others.”

Though dedicated to the candy stripers, Kimbrough’s children felt she needed to spend more time on herself. So respecting their wishes, at the beginning of this year she left the hospital. Replacing her is another volunteer, Cathy Corliss.

Kimbrough said she will greatly miss this part of her life. To all the “candy stripers” she said, “Please keep in touch. I’ll miss working with you.”

Editor’s note: Bear River High School student Jennifer Bacigalupo wrote this piece as part of her senior project.

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