WEIRTON - Marge Porchiran has a sunny outlook on life, and that sunshine is something she shares with Weirton Medical Center patients as an auxiliary volunteer.
Porchiran said she became involved with the auxiliary approximately 20 years ago, when she and her husband returned to the area to be closer to her husband's family in Slovan, Pa. They first met when he was working in construction in the Mid-West, and she said he never believed that he would be able to persuade her to relocate to the Upper Ohio Valley.
"I'll just talk to the patients," she said. "And sometimes, they'll say, 'don't tell so-and-so what I just told you!' And I tell them not to worry, because I don't know anybody!"
She has enjoyed volunteering since she first became involved with her daughter's activities, including helping with the school band and using her seamstress skills to maintain uniforms.
"We had one girl, she got this big tear, and it was right before they had to go out," said Porchiran. "Well, we didn't have time to sew it up, so I just used a row of safety pins instead. Luckily, you couldn't tell."
Porchiran said she became involved with the hospital as something to fill her time. She decorates the skilled care floor and the activity room tree for the seasons and holidays. Porchiran also holds regular bingo sessions for the residents.
"I just give away little prizes," she said. "Just any little thing that I can get. A lot of time, people just give me things. It means a lot to the residents. I had one lady, she won a prize, and her family came in to visit and she said, 'I won this.'"
She also is a dedicated crocheter, and frequently makes wraps and lap robes for patients, giving them out especially during holidays such as Mother's Day and Christmas.
"People ask me how I keep doing what I do at my age," she said. "It's all about your attitude. If you have the right attitude, then you're going to be happy, no matter what."
When she isn't volunteering, she enjoys working in her garden, where she does all the planting and weeding herself - it keeps her in good health and good spirits, despite asthma which still plagues her, she said. She has both a flower garden and a vegetable garden, and recently tried planting potatoes for the first time. The trick is to plant them on St. Patrick's Day, she said.
"Instead of thinking about the things that are wrong, I like to think of all the things that are going right," she said.
Porchiran also enjoys traveling with her daughter.
"People say, 'you're going on vacation with your mother?'" she said. "But we don't care. We laugh and have a good time."
(Wallace-Minger can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)