Katie Johnson: Volunteering ‘gives me great joy’

Published 5:45 am Monday, October 31, 2022

Westlake resident Katie Brown Johnson has been volunteering at Lake Charles Memorial Medical Center for 12 years.

“I do it because it gives me great joy,” she said. “I see people I haven’t seen in years. I get to help others. I feel like I make a difference and it makes me feel good to give back.”

Her smile is contagious and her joy, apparent.

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Sometimes she also plays the grand piano in the hospital’s atrium as part of her volunteer gig.

“I’ve been playing since I was 4 years old,” she said, “and I never took a class. I play by ear.”

She remembers the day she saw her first piano.

“My dad’s family is musically talented,” she said. “We went to Georgia to visit Aunt Alma and she was playing ‘Swanee River’ on a pump organ. I’ll never forget. Someone put me on her lap and I picked out the rest of the song. He told my father to go home and ‘get this child a piano.’ ”

Johnson is a mother to three, grandmother to seven and great-grandmother to 10.

Established in 1968, the mission of the Hospital Auxiliary, of which Johnson is a member, is to render service to Lake Charles Memorial Health System and its patients. Some of the ways volunteers assist is through visiting with patients and families, delivering reading materials, staffing the front lobby information desk, servicing the waiting rooms, managing the gift shops and working behind the scenes.

To find out how to become a volunteer, call 337-494-3213.