Spirit

Couple finds joy in volunteering

Odd jobs give satisfaction to St. Helena retiree’s lives
2012-12-26T20:53:00Z 2014-12-19T14:24:42Z Couple finds joy in volunteeringISABELLE DILLS Napa Valley Register
December 26, 2012 8:53 pm  • 

For the past decade, Roy and Kay Bisagno have followed the same routine every Monday afternoon. They drive three miles from their home to St. Helena Hospital, eat a free lunch in the hospital cafeteria, and then begin three and a half hours of volunteer work.

The Bisagnos most often work as hospital “pages” — transporting patients on gurneys or in wheelchairs, and taking lab specimens to different areas of the hospital.

“We’re all-around gophers, really,” Kay Bisagno said.

Kay has volunteered at St. Helena Hospital for 20 years. She began volunteering a short time after she and Roy moved from Castro Valley to St. Helena.

Soon after the move, Kay joined a local club — the Italian Catholic Federation — where she met her first friend in St. Helena, who also happened to be a longtime hospital volunteer. Kay, being recently retired, told her friend how she was feeling lonely in her new town, and the friend encouraged her to sign up for volunteer work at St. Helena Hospital.

About 10 years later, Roy Bisagno joined his wife and signed up as a volunteer, as well.

Meeting patients as they transport them to different departments is what the Bisagnos say they enjoy most about volunteering.

“Everybody is so grateful,” Kay said. “It makes you feel like you’re doing something for them and the hospital.”

Outside of St. Helena Hospital, Roy and Kay are active in other ways. Roy works at the Steves Hardware store in St. Helena, and Kay is a longtime member of the Federated Women of Upper Napa Valley, a local community service club. The Bisagnos also volunteer monthly with the Napa Valley Vintners, where they perform office work and help at events.

The Vintners office manager, Aram Chakerian, said Kay’s Christmas lemon bars are “famous” among the office staff.

“(The Bisagnos) are extra pleasant, very easy to work with and always smiling,” Chakerian said.

Chakerian added that he has eight regular volunteers, so the Bisagnos comprise at least 25 percent of his volunteer workforce.

“We love them,” he said. “Everybody loves them.”

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