Lynda DeMasco says volunteering at Peterson Medical Center is a huge passion.
"My mother, Mary Mitchell, volunteered at Peterson for 20 years," DeMasco says. "So in 2013, when I retired, I decided to volunteer in her memory. It's the most rewarding thing I've ever done."
She says her usual position is in the surgical waiting room. She greets patients and their families, sees the patient through the pre-operation procedure, then cares for the family while they wait. "I keep them posted on what's happening and how it's going, and when their loved one will be coming out of surgery and into recovery. Helping like that is part of who I am; I'm a fixer."
She says besides her days in surgery she also gets to fill in other places in the hospital. "There are volunteers doing all sorts of things at Peterson, and when we need to we fill in for each other. I get to do almost everything but work the counter at the gift shop. I'm really bad at retail sales."
DeMasco says she gets more than she gives to patients by volunteering. "Peterson is a wonderful hospital. Everybody is friendly and dedicated, and they love the patients. And it's state-of-the-art. We have a new sterilization unit that will make surgery even safer."
When she's not at Peterson, DeMasco says she is also president of the St. Peter Episcopal School Board, is on the Chalkfest Committee, and holds membership in Riverhill Womens Association.
But it's the offices she has held in the Peterson Hospital Auxiliary that brought her statewide attention. She says she was asked to sit on the board of the Texas Association of Healthcare Volunteers in 2018. This year she was elected to the first vice-president position, where she will serve for one year, then become the president-elect, and advance to president of the association in 2022.
She says the TAHV oversees all hospital auxiliary members across Texas. It provides ongoing educational opportunities which enhance the delivery of healthcare services, and also holds an annual convention with more learning and coordination.
DeMasco says, "In September I'll become part of a TAHV 'traveling trio;' myself as the first vice-president, the current president-elect, and the current president. We'll visit healthcare auxiliaries across Texas, from El Paso, down through the Valley, to Texarkana."
Closer to home, DeMasco says Peterson can always use more volunteers. "Anyone who enjoys helping other people will find it's so rewarding. Call Volunteer Coordinator Jane Harris, and she can always find a place for you. Her phone is 258-7630. The more volunteers we have the better we can care for the patients."
DeMasco says she was born and raised in Roswell, N.M. "The most wonderful couple, Mary and Charles Mitchell, chose to adopt and raise me. I graduated from Roswell High School in 1965, then started college at the University of Arizona."
She says while she was home one summer she met Phil DeMasco. He was studying at the University of Texas, and came to New Mexico to work pipeline for the summer with his uncle. "We met in the summer, and married at Easter." She moved to Austin while he finished up his degree, and completed her last 20 hours through Texas Tech.
Phil found a coaching position in Kerrville, and they moved here in 1975. DeMasco says she taught at Tivy Elementary, then helped open Nimitz Elementary when it was first built. They also raised three children, two of which graduated from Tivy High School, and one from New Braunfels.
They left Kerrville for positions in Northeast ISD, where DeMasco served as a principal for 13 years. She says, "Then in 2013 we retired and came home. I always thought of Kerrville as 'home.' We are members of St. Peters, Phil plays a lot of golf, I do cross stitch when I'm not volunteering, and we have five grandchildren. Our three children all have wonderful spouses. Our daughters, Allyson and Ashley, live in New Braunfels and our son, Pate, in San Antonio."
She says Allyson has twins, a girl and a boy, 12 years old. Ashley has a son, six. Pate has a 10-year-old daughter and a six-year-old son. "Among them, they keep us busy with lacrosse, baseball, basketball, football, volleyball, golf and dance. But that's great. Your life is as full as what you give others."