Martha cares about not slowing down

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Martha S., one of Senior Ride’s first riders hasn’t slowed down since she was working her tail off while in her teens on the family farm in Lincoln County, Tenn. However, at age 94 she made the decision to stop one thing in her life.

“Nobody ever told me to stop, but I thought 94 sounded like a really good age to stop driving,” she said. Recently Martha took our young organization’s 2,000th ride -- from the passenger seat which she now prefers. “I just don’t ever want to sit home. I don’t like staying home.”

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With Senior Ride Nashville, she doesn’t have to stay home. Martha uses our service to get to appointments, to exercise, and -- believe it or not -- to work. The former registered nurse is volunteering once a week at Saint Thomas West Hospital, more than seven decades since she went to St. Thomas’ School of Nursing and became an RN.

In the 1940s, family finances forced Martha to choose nursing school over college, but even getting there required her to go against the wishes of her parents who wanted her to stay home and work on the farm. Remember, Martha doesn’t like to stay home. In her early teens, she had told her parents that when she was old enough she was going “out into the world and make something of myself.”

The United States entered World War II was Martha was a high school senior, and when she graduated there plenty of jobs for young women like her as the men went off to fight. The door to a nursing career opened for her and she walked through it.

Now, after a 52-year marriage and raising seven children, Martha has returned to those roots. She works with the director of volunteer services who said “Miss Martha is one of our very favorites.” Senior Ride gets her there, and she’s grateful both for the opportunity to work at the hospital and for Senior Ride. She remembers picking up a pamphlet at the Bellevue YMCA/Fifty Forward and signed up.

“I am really pleased, I don’t know how you could do any better. The volunteers are a dedicated group, and nobody has left me standing yet,” she said with a chuckle.