Positive Connections: Corvette-driving Kansas hospital volunteer turns 100

Positive Connections

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) — The Hutchinson community is celebrating a long-time resident and hospital volunteer’s 100th birthday.

Irene Martindell crossed the century mark on May 24. Just days before, she sat down with KSN at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center, where she has volunteered for more than half of her life.

“This was my choice of volunteer jobs was the hospital,” Martindell said.

Martindell began her weekly volunteer journey delivering mail and flowers at Hutchinson’s St. Elizabeth Hospital in 1969. In 1975, the hospital became Hutchinson Regional Medical Center.

“I felt like it was a real service and if the patient looked like they couldn’t open the mail or read their own mail, I could do that for them and that was rather fine to see them happy about their mail,” she said.

The mother of four, grandma, and now great-grandmother has given more years of service to the hospital than any other volunteer.

“It’s inspiring,” said Hutchinson Regional Medical Center CEO Ken Johnson, “She is a person you would love to spend time with. Her personality is so engaging, friendly, inviting.”

Irene Martindell steps out of her ’87 Corvette on Friday.

On Friday, the energetic and then 99 year old rolled up to the hospital in her 1987 Corvette. She still drives, and she still volunteers all of these years later. Rather than work a weekly shift, Martindell is on the hospital’s auxiliary.

KSN asked Martindell why she continues to give back.

“Well, I just keep doing it. I think that’s it. I don’t want to go sit down somewhere and just do nothing. That would be so boring, so I am glad I am able to still function normally,” she laughed.

Martindell credits her friends and family for keeping her young and able.

“I tell people the way I stay young is to have young friends and I do have lots,” she said.

Her message to the next generation is simple – be kind to others.

“You have to think about the other people and their problems,” Martindell said. “If you approach life with the right attitude, you get much more out of life.”

Martindell’s family is hosting a birthday celebration for her on Friday. When KSN asked her if she will have 100 candles to blow out, she said, “I hope so!”

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