NEWBERRY — Tensie Stone is the first Newberry County Memorial Hospital volunteer to win the humanitarian award.
Stone, 91, was awarded the Jake and Mildred Fulmer Humanitarian of the Year Award on Monday for her constant care and need to always help others.
The Newberry hospital’s CEO Ron Vigus describes Stone as someone with a “humble, servant’s heart.”
Stone was praised Monday night for her many accomplishments and constant care for others.
Upon receiving her award, Stone expressed her gratitude to everyone.
“Thank you,” said Stone, “This is one of the greatest moments of my life.”
The hospital’s board of trustees chair Jennylee Foster describes the moment when she first met Stone.
“In 1999 she became a volunteer and the first thing she told me was, ‘I want to do everything I can, but don’t make me one of those officers.’ She will do anything you ask of her,” said Foster.
Foster continues, “If she makes up her mind about something, she’s going to do it whether you like it or not.”
She describes a moment during one of their many lunches together and Foster forgot a straw. Stone said she would get her a straw and Foster laughs as she recalls them arguing about getting a straw. Since then, Foster says that Stone would always grab an extra straw, showing that she’d have the last say.
Foster also described the character of Stone.
“When we sit down to lunch, Tensie’s always ready to pray. She wants to do something for someone all the time,” says Foster.
“She loves her family and has instilled good values in her children,” she continues.
Foster also talks about Stone’s persistence in her age, “When you reach Ms. Tensie’s age, how many people volunteer, let alone stand and walk everywhere.”
Foster says that Stone still greets and walks up stairs, running errands constantly.
Lisa Sligh, one of Stone’s granddaughters, said, “She’s fantastic. She’s always there for us, anytime we’ve needed anything. She cooks lunch for the entire family every Sunday. We average about 15 to 20 people and anytime we have a friend, she tells us to bring them right in. Her door is always open. She’s never met a stranger.”
Louise Rollins, a volunteer at the hospital, has known Stone for a while and says, “She’s a wonderful, caring person. She’s like a Timex watch, she keeps on ticking.”
Much of Stone’s family was there for her as she received the award. Her family extended to friends and the volunteers at the hospital as well as hospital staff members.
One friend recalls a silly moment, “I gave her a weeble, as a gift.” She explains that a weeble is a kids toy that wobbles back and forth. When Stone received it, her friend says, “She just hugged my neck like she always does.”
Another friend recalled a moment when Stone drove her to the doctor to get stitches. Her friend didn’t realize Stone drove like Richard Petty. Upon hearing that, Stone exclaimed, “People don’t know where I’ll take them.”