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For 50 years, Tennessee member has seen needs – and filled them

MEMPHIS, TN — Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center nurse Cathy Collie, left, is one of a legion of Eulila Flinn fans. Flinn, a member of the Midtown church, Memphis, Tenn., often works in the clothes closet that is named after her. 

MEMPHIS, TENN. – “Thank God foranother day and all his many blessings.”
At Le BonheurChildren’s Medical Center, that’s a commonrefrain when Eulila Flinn greets co-workers, patients and their families.
For 50 years, Flinnhas been a fixture and in many ways a spiritual anchor at the children’shospital. At 78, she’s the hospital’s oldest and longest-serving employee andhas no plans to retire.
Officially, she is apatient services assistant. Pushing her cart to every floor, she deliversflowers, balloons, cards and stuffed animals to sick children. She providesparents with something to read and long-term patients with detergent to washtheir clothes.
She also runs thehospital’s clothes closet, now renamed Ms. Flinn’s Clothes Closet. When achild’s clothes are cut off in the emergency room, she finds undergarments andclothes for them to wear.
Unofficially, if shesees a need, she fills it. If she finds a child hungry, she pulls out moneyfrom her pocket and buys food from the cafeteria, not waiting or bothering togo to social services for a food voucher.
“She’s proof that oneperson can make a difference. That the power of one makes a difference,” saidLinda Ware, a registered nurse in cardiovascular services.

Flinn started workingat the hospital in the laundry department in 1955, when she had four childrenat home.

When the department’swork was contracted out in 1988, the hospital’s president, Gene Cashman,insisted that the staff find a place for Flinn. She moved to the volunteerservices department. It fit perfectly with her giving nature.
Still, Flinn doesn’tlike people making a fuss over her. The hospital recently gave a receptionrecognizing her 50 years of dedicated service.
Harold Redd, herminister at Midtown Church of Christ, described “Sister” Flinn as a committedChristian and a concerned giver.
“She’s just as heavenbound as she can be,” he said, adding he’s not surprised at her longevity atthe hospital. “She’s a spiritual anchor wherever she goes.”

“You’re supposed tolove people,” she said. “I’m trying to be worthy to help somebody. I want to beworthy every day. I’m not out here just to make a payday.”
As people greeted herat her reception, co-worker Javier Ruiz asked how he could stay on the job for50 years.

Without pausing, shereplied, “Read your Bible. Go to church. Treat folks right. Read the 23rdPsalm, the 51st and 121st Psalm.”
“I didn’t believe Icould be here for 50 years,” she said. “I asked God to let me do a little more.
“Why pile up in thecorner when you can help somebody?”
COPYRIGHT, TheCommercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.

March 1, 2006

Filed under: People Staff Reports

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