When the Jimmy Hopkins family moved to the area in 1932, Delta was chosen for their home because it had a library and an Episcopal church. These were very important to the girls’ mother and remained priorities in the lives of daughters Nellie and Sula.It was 1935 when a group of girls, mostly under the age of 20, met with Nellie to form a club. Sula joined later, during World War II. Book clubs were popular at the time, but rather than follow the trend, they became Delta Junior Club under the sponsorship of the Delta Women’s Club. In 1944 the junior club became a full-ﬂedged Federated Women’s Club and changed their name to Build a Better Community Club (BBC Club). The name was chosen to reﬂect their vital interest in community affairs, with aims similar to those of the Altrusa Club today.
Sula was BBC president during that ﬁrst year. She said, “The club’s volunteer work for the local hospital started in the early 1940s. Along with other projects, the club purchased the ﬁrst baby incubator for the hospital when it was where Dr. Coe’s ofﬁce is presently located. The club cooked and served lunches and dinners to raise funds for the project. They also gave the ﬁrst $500 for the building fund for the proposed hospital at 11th and Grand.
Club members cooperated with other area organizations to help with many worthwhile projects. One of these came up during Sula’s presidency, “Let’s Light Up Delta” involved area businesses and organizations cooperating in raising funds for mini twinkle lights, garlands, and other seasonal street decorations and encouraging the entire town to become involved. This project continued for several years.
BBC also sponsored Girl Scout troops as another club interest.
Nellie tells, “BBC club discovered there were girls in the area that had never had a doll. Dolls in good condition were dressed and prettied up, or new dolls were purchased by club members and brought to the club’s Christmas party to be distributed to children, rather than a gift exchange among members. This project was a favorite of many club members and continued for a number of years.
When they started to build the ﬁrst hospital on Garnet Mesa, both women spent many hours on the telephone urging people to vote for the tax levy needed for the construction.
Some of Sula’s other volunteer work included serving as den mother for a troop of Cub Scouts, was active in PTA, a Rainbow Girls mother advisor, and helping Nellie with her Girl Scout troop. In the 1960s or ’70s Delta had a Women’s Chamber of Commerce with Sula serving as secretary. She was a member of “Sweet Adelines” for over 20 years and served on the Community Concert board for many years. She has belonged to Eastern Star. All this while working her entire life in her church, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, including singing in the choir since the age of eight.
Sula was a charter member of the “Pink Ladies” for Delta County Memorial Hospital. She said this is a great organization, the only one she has belonged to where members always volunteer to be ofﬁcers. She served as president for two terms and vice-president for two terms in the early 1980s. She has worked at the visitor desk, the emergency room, and for a time as a patient representative. She has earned a 30-year pin, her 5,000-hour pin, and is coming up on earning a 6,000-hour pin with just another 200 hours to go. That’s one of her present goals.
She volunteered for Partners for a few years, while retaining her “Pink Lady” membership by helping with school hearing tests and supplying some of the materials at the hospital gift shop. Presently she helps out in the education department compiling patient packets. Until recently, Sula has written a hospital volunteer of the month column for the newspaper.
Sula and Nellie each work a four-hour shift each week at the concierge’s desk on the hospital’s second ﬂoor. Sula commented that she considers this assignment to be acting as a social hostess.
The job includes quite a lot of visiting with people in the nearby waiting area, some anxious visitors sitting there for hours and hours. As volunteers, they answer questions, help visitors locate patient’s rooms, deliver ﬂowers, and handle other situations as they arise.
Nellie mentioned a particular joy that comes with the job, listening to Brahms Lullaby as its played over the intercom system when a new baby is born.
Nellie joined “Pink Ladies” at the hospital in 1982, working in the gift shop and several years prior to the building of the new hospital, she worked at the visitor desk. She has received a 25-year pin and has volunteered 4,800 hours of service.
Nellie said, “The decision to work at the concierge’s desk on the second ﬂoor of the new hospital is the best I have ever made. I talk with people and do whatever I can to help them. I sometimes make needed copies of papers, just generally being helpful. One reason I feel valuable there is that some people feel so sad or anxious about a situation and often it helps to have someone listen. Then too, if visitors aren’t familiar with the layout of the hospital, they have difﬁculty locating rooms. We help with that a lot.”
“With the organization’s name change from “Pink Ladies” to “Hospital Volunteers,” Nellie said, “Men joined and became an important addition to the program.”
Nellie recalls an early volunteer effort when she and other Delta teenagers collected money for the March of Dimes. They put on skits at stores and for organizations to raise funds to ﬁght infantile paralysis.
“When the city was having ﬁnancial problems and were going to close the library, Nellie went to a city council meeting with great concern. She ended up serving as a council member. The library remained open, run exclusively with volunteers. Nellie, a 30-year library board member, was responsible for starting Friends of the Library and has seen many changes over the years including an expansion, the addition of an elevator, and a wide variety of added services to the library system.
She retired from the library board when they began talking of a second addition to the building, then wrote a history of the library from its early beginnings as a reading room with donated books, to obtaining funds for half of the proposed building through an Andrew Carnegie grant, fund raisers to meet the grant’s requirements, tax levies for expansions, to the present high functioning library that it is today. Her historical account appeared in The Delta Independent at the time of the ribbon cutting for the latest addition.
Nellie worked for a while to help with her daughter’s college expenses. During that time, she became a member of the Business and Professional Women’s Club and she joined Altrusa Club because of their many community service oriented projects. She was also a member of the Federated Women’s Club, a service club mentioned in Sula’s interview that later evolved into the BBC Club.
Both women helped with “Thunder Mountain Lives Again,” a summer outdoor theater production that continued in Delta for several years in the 1980s.
Nellie has led two 4-H clubs and has been a part of the joint church Bible school where she became known as the “basket lady,” teaching basket making to children of all faiths.
She has taught Sunday School classes for 50 years, has been president of Episcopal Church Women for ﬁve one-year terms. In addition, she has served on the Colorado Diocesan Committee for her church for 17 years — seven years of that as head of United Thank Offering, an Episcopal outreach program.
She has delivered Meals on Wheels for Columbine Senior Services, a substitute at ﬁrst, then in 1982 began and continues delivering meals one day a week in north and west Delta.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Having experienced a fulﬁlling life of service, both sisters encourage others to ﬁnd satisfaction in serving others.