89-year-old volunteer logs 24,000 hours at Bayfront

- An 89-year-old is setting a high bar when it comes to her volunteer work. Her energy and generosity has inspired a community. 

"Five days a week," Elenor Gratz said. "Four hours every morning."

In the last 14 years, the retired bus driver has accumulated 24,000 hours volunteering at Bayfront Health Hospital in Brooksville.

"I like volunteering because you are with people and you are giving to the community and you are giving help to everyone," Elenor explained.

She got the idea to volunteer when her late husband had a stroke and went to the hospital. Elenor met a hospital volunteer who helped her with her husband and it left a lasting impression.

"I thought to myself, 'well, she was really very nice.' Taking care of him, and the waiting room was full of people," she remembered.

Now, Elenor organizes schedules for more than 90 volunteers. Affectionately known as 'Ms. Ele' by staff and patients, her up-beat attitude inspires.

"You might not be having a great day, but she comes and cheers you up and I think she does that for her fellow volunteers, too - and the staff," CEO of Bayfront Health, Kenneth Wicker said.

Ms. Ele said she can't see herself doing anything else.

"Its rewarding, to volunteer. To help," Ele said. "That's why volunteers are here - to help everybody."

Dedication and commitment to help others when they need it most is her specialty. For her tireless work, Ms, Ele was awarded the service award from the hospital. She said she loves volunteering and will continue for as long as she can. 

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