By Jennifer Meshanko for The Island Connection
Karen Rankine’s passions are education and nursing. Not only did she turn her passion into a career, she is also merging them with her volunteer service. Karen is a Charleston native who grew up on the Isle of Palms. Her parents owned Hudson’s Pavilion, Bath House, and Surf Shop, where she spent her summers working.
This experience, along with her parent’s influence, instilled a strong work ethic in Karen at an early age. She graduated from Bishop England and went on to complete the Medical University of South Carolina’s four-year registered nursing program. After graduation, she started working on a pediatric unit at MUSC. From 1981 to 1982, she attended the University of South Carolina to obtain her Master’s degree in nursing. Karen returned to work at MUSC until she retired in September 2014. One year into her retirement she started volunteering with Our Lady of Mercy Neighborhood House.
The Neighborhood House was looking for someone to manage the monthly wellness program. With Karen’s background in education and nursing, she was the perfect person to coordinate the program. Her responsibilities include organizing a group of fellow volunteers who provide health screenings and education on new topics each month. If clients are in need of medical attention, they are referred to Fetter Health Care Network. Karen also presents health information to the senior group in fun ways, such as diabetes bingo. She formed a group from Stella Maris Church who serve lunch at Neighborhood House oncea month, and also serves as a volunteer at our annual auction fundraiser.
Karen enjoys volunteering with the wellness program, because she is able to provide health information that could prolong or save a person’s life. She also enjoys getting to know the clients. She recalls a time when a client was so touched when she remembered his name.
“It’s the little things that matter,” says Karen. “It’s important to show love, dignity and respect to everyone.” Karen considers herself to be very blessed and wants to give back to the community. “Everyone has gifts and talents to share.” She encourages people to try volunteering as a way to share blessings and change lives.
Volunteer Spotlight is a column in the Island Connection highlighting members of the community who give their time to help others. If you know of a volunteer who deserves the spotlight email email@example.com. If you’ d like to get involved with Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach email jennifer. firstname.lastname@example.org.