Newton Medical Center lab information supervisor Nancy Stucky has a bit of a green thumb. While it may not be prominently displayed at the hospital, anyone wanting to see the fruits of her labor need only make a short trip to Goessel — where Stucky has been volunteering to help maintain and care for the Butterfly Garden at Bethesda Home for two decades.
"I've always been interested in gardening because my mother enjoyed gardening, and it's a way for me to give back to the community and it gives me an opportunity to be in a bigger garden than what I have at home," Stucky said, "and specifically to give back to Bethesda and provide enjoyment for their staff, for their residents, for the families of residents; all of those groups of people enjoy coming out to the garden."
Stucky said a friend encouraged her to join the Town and Country Garden Club — which established the Butterfly Garden — in Goessel 20 years ago and she has been involved ever since.
During growing season (spring, summer and fall), Stucky noted she will be out helping in the Butterfly Garden every couple of weeks deadheading plants (removing the spent parts of the flower), replacing plants, making sure something is in bloom or "getting rid of those ever-present weeds."
Through the years, she noted it has been a pleasure to help in the garden and make sure it is an amenity that residents and staff can take advantage of — whether on a daily stroll or, in one instance relayed to Stucky by a staff member, helping calm residents in an agitated state.
"Providing that enjoyment for residents and their families makes me feel good," Stucky said. "Plus, when I get done with a weeding session, I just stand and look and enjoy myself because I enjoy that beauty."
On top of helping out at Bethesda, Stucky said she is also very involved in her church (Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church) — whether assisting with secretarial work or serving on various committees, like education — and that was a big factor initially in getting her involved in the community.
"I think I've always grown up with that and some of that comes from being involved in the church and trying to relate to people and give back to people in a loving way," Stucky said. "It's something that my parents did and we've just continued to do."
For 38 years, Stucky has worked at NMC making sure the lab runs smoothly. While that takes a certain commitment, she recommends going beyond that to help give back in the community — if for nothing more than the feeling that is reciprocated.
"Volunteering is always rewarding," Stucky said. "It makes you feel good about yourself and also about other people because you're thinking beyond yourself."