Super Senior: Mary Baker - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Super Senior: Mary Baker

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With just 25 beds, Porter Hospital is small even by Vermont standards, but there is supersized pride in this place. Over 100 volunteers give their time throughout the building, from sorting mail to greeting patients.

"They're the first people they see. Their role is to put them at ease, make them feel welcome," said Karen Herrmann, the director of volunteers.

And no one makes people feel more comfortable than Mary Baker.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Do you recognize a lot of people?

Mary Baker: Yup!

And at 94, she isn't slowing down.

"But I also wanted to contribute my time to the community, so with my love of nursing it was natural to get back into it," Mary said.

She graduated from nursing school in her home state of Massachusetts in 1940.

"I was young once and I looked happy," Mary said looking at her graduation picture. It shows a young woman full of life and potential, something that was noted in her nursing yearbook.

"Mary's ideals and aims are high. Someday, she will be become famous. Success that money can't buy will place her high above us," Mary read from the yearbook.

In the Bay State, she met John at a dance. It was World War II and he was in the Army.

"He sat down next to me and we started talking, and he got my phone number and that was it," she said.

They got married and after the war moved to Middlebury. Mary and John opened a jewelry store in 1948, but decided to retire in 1980. Well, retire might be the right word, because she has volunteered at Porter Hospital ever since.

Joe Carroll: You know, you've been here longer than some of these patients have been alive.

Mary Baker: You're telling me! The majority of them.

"Mary has been here forever!" Herrmann said.

And those years have added up; she recently passed 10,000 hours volunteering at the hospital. That would be like working 24 hours a day, 416 days straight without a break. But Mary doesn't think of it as work.

"Try to make people feel at home," she said.

John passed away 11 years ago, but he, too, volunteered many years at the hospital.

And Mary isn't savoring this TV interview.

"Actually doing this is not my cup of tea!" she said.

And her yearbook prediction is now complete; with this story, she's now a bit famous. And her years of volunteering at Porter: "This is success that money can't buy," Mary said.

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