BILL PARKINSON • Horizon Home Care & Hospice Inc.

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:40 pm

After retiring from teaching English at Homestead High School, Bill Parkinson could have spent his retirement surrounded by books and may have been quite content. He could have caught up on some reading he’d been long postponing.

However, Parkinson’s wife insisted there was work to be done and people he could help. On her recommendation, Parkinson reluctantly went to Community Memorial Hospital in Menomonee Falls to see what he could do.
Upon arriving at the hospital, Parkinson was told he could help with Horizon Home Care & Hospice’s meals-on-wheels, a program that delivers food to senior citizens who are unable to get out of their house much.

Parkinson also volunteers at the hospital’s information desk, greeting visitors, providing meals-on-wheels deliveries and leading other volunteers.

“What I found when I signed on was that I look forward to it every week,” Parkinson says. “I have two brothers-in-law who are both avid golfers. I tried golfing, and I’m not good at it. That’s not what I want to do. I became hooked on helping people instead.”

Parkinson, 79, has volunteered his time delivering food two to three times each week for the past 16 years and stationed himself at Community Memorial Hospital’s front desk for one day each week.

On one routine delivery 12 years ago, Parkinson found himself in a situation he’ll never forget.

Parkinson pulled into a woman’s driveway. The woman, Parkinson says, lived alone. On that day, however, there was a truck in her driveway.

“I went in the back door and heard a scream,” Parkinson says. “I said, ‘What the hell is going on hereω’”

Parkinson saw a 6-foot, 200- pound man towering over the woman, who was flat on her back on the floor. The man held a sharp gardening tool in his hand.

“I put down my tray and yelled at the guy again, ‘What the hell are you doing hereω’” Parkinson says.

The man turned around toward Parkinson. The woman on the floor screamed, “Help! He’s trying to kill me!”

The man, alarmed by Parkinson, turned and ran. Parkinson followed.

“I don’t know what I was going to do at 150 pounds. I tried to get a license plate number, but I couldn’t see,” says Parkinson, who returned to the woman in the house.

The woman had already dialed 911. Within minutes, Menomonee Falls police officers were at the scene.

“I still had one meal to deliver that was half a mile away,” Parkinson says. “I had to convince the police to let me finish my route and return. And they let me do so.”

He filed his report with police shortly thereafter.

“The extraordinary piece of Bill’s meals-on-wheels delivery story is that his little encounter did not dissuade him from continuing to serve as a volunteer,” says Mary Haynor, president and chief executive officer of Horizon Home Care & Hospice Inc., who nominated Parkinson for a Health Care Heroes Award “An event that may frighten a volunteer, ending their involvement, never concerned Bill.”

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