Given her own professional background, it's not too surprising that once Wanda Knight retired and had some extra time on her hands she gravitated towards spending some of it helping out in a health care setting.

For a decade now, Knight has been volunteering her time at Pine Village nursing home in her native Moundridge, and it was a pretty easy sell.

"Somebody asked me if I would be willing to file (documents) and I said, 'sure,'" Knight said.

Knight noted the advent of computers has lessened the load of what she assists with around the Pine Village offices, but her willingness to donate her time is no less appreciated — as she was recently named Volunteer of the Year at Pine Village's annual corporation meeting.

"Wanda has been such a blessing to Pine Village and we're so thankful she chooses us," said Shelby Shaw, Pine Village Administrator. "We have so much paperwork as a direct result of regulations and Wanda helps us keep that in order, plus she brings a medical background. Volunteers are the backbone of Pine Village and we are so thankful for all they do."

That background comes from years of Knight working as a nurse at Prairie View, where she became very familiar with the amount of paperwork processed (especially as crucial as confidentiality is at Prairie View).

With her three children in mind, nursing was a career option Knight began to explore when her husband became critically ill in 1977. She eventually earned her degree from Bethel College and progressed through the course of her career at Prairie View, helping numerous patients and getting a great deal of fulfillment simply from her assistance being appreciated among her coworkers — a commitment the Volunteer of the Year honor shows she has continued.

"It still kind of blows me away. Of course, I'm humbled," Knight said. "I'm proud of Pine Village. I'm glad we have Pine Village. It's a very good retirement center and I'm glad I can help out."

On top of her work at Pine Village, Knight also helps out weekly at The Et Cetera Shop in Newton on Thursdays — something she was drawn into given a friend's involvement.

At Et Cetera, Knight works with the magazines — pricing, stocking and rotating the selection available for sale. Like with Pine Village, Knight is grateful for the opportunity to make a difference, a truly gratifying experience.

"I think one can receive more than you give," Knight said. "It just feels good to be working with all these volunteers and then, where its (profits) go, it goes to MCC and other places in need. That feels good."