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Super Senior: Betty Busch

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 12:42 PM EDT
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MORRISVILLE, Vt. (WCAX) - About once a week, a small office at Copley Hospital becomes a desert destination.

“Oh, they’ve got the cake there!” said Betty Busch. ”Come on Joe, come have a piece of cake.”

Busch, a volunteer at the Morrisville hospital, is known for treats and a delight to be around -- just ask the nurses. “You’re the only thing that keeps us together,” said Julie Perron, a Copley nurse. “Our Wonder Woman.”

With the cake break over, Busch returns to her work in the OR department, setting up the forms for doctors to complete prior to operations. “Because this is the start of the procedure for surgery -- these books that they need,” she explained.

The small hospital has five orthopedic surgeons including Dr. Nick Antell. On this day he’s busy with a couple of joint replacement procedures. “We could be running around here like madmen and come out of the OR and she’s sitting here at the desk with a big old smile,” Antell said.

“It’s part of my life, it’s very important,” Busch said. But that life came to a halt last year when the pandemic shut down elective surgeries. There were layoffs, and volunteers, including Busch, were sent home. But when the vaccine rollout began this spring, she was back.

“I got a call from Betty. She let me know that she made an appointment with her doctor and she had a doctor’s note that said she can come back,” said Karen Cavender, ths hospital’s head OR nurse.

Betty Busch: Well, I couldn’t come back unless I had a note.

Karen Cavender: I’m sure that doctor was too scared to tell her no. I’m quite sure of that!

Reporter Joe Carroll: You get along with these people here?

Betty Busch: Most of the time.

Betty Busch
Betty Busch(WCAX)

Truth be told, the 83-year-old is a sweet person. It’s her words that can be a bit salty. “It’s one word I say all the time, and my mother did it all her life,” Busch said.

Reporter Joe Carroll: What’s it rhyme with?

Betty Busch: Ah... ‘hit.’

Reporter Joe Carroll: Oh.

From her accent and demeanor, it’s clear Busch is not a native Vermonter.

She shows us pictures of her youth growing on Long Island -- snapshots in time -- and marrying Charley. “That’s my wedding picture. I was 18,” Busch said.

The couple worked together at a power company in New York, but in the ’80s they decided to uproot and move to Vermont, buying the Hadley House inn in Stowe.

When Charley died, Busch kept the inn going for another few years. “It was 4.6 acres. I used to mow the whole thing by myself,” she said. She knew it was time to sell, but her future was in question. “And I said, I’m not going to do this, I’m not going to sit and do nothing.”

Copley fit the bill and Busch has been volunteering for 17 years. “It’s what I can give. And if that’s what I can give the rest of my life, then I’m happy,” she said.

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