Ralph Long embodies a noted quote by baseball great Satchel Paige: "Age is a question of mind over matter – if you don't mind, it don't matter."
Long, who turned 88 on August 21, has volunteered at The University of Kansas Health System's main campus for 24 years and is still going strong, according to his supervisor.
On Mondays and Wednesdays, Long cheerfully delivers reading materials to the emergency department and adult psychiatric unit, helps visitors and patients find their way through the hospital and delivers mail, packages and flowers to patients.
The north central Missouri farm boy was a Marine during the Korean War and then worked for many years at a clothing retail co-op in Kansas City. He and his wife had a son and 2 daughters. In 1963, Long earned a degree in accounting (with a 3.87 grade point average, he's proud to add) while attending night classes at then Rockhurst College.
His first day as a volunteer was in 1994, 4 years before the hospital transitioned from a state entity to one governed by its own authority.