One Atlanta man always thought he would love having tons of free time when he retired. However, when it finally happened he soon found himself bored and hated not having a purpose.
Soon after David Deutchman retired from international business marketing 15 years ago, he started giving lectures at local universities to keep himself busy. However, he still wasn’t satisfied, so one day he went to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and asked if he could volunteer.
For the next year, he volunteered in the pediatric intensive care unit until the staff asked if he’d be willing to help in the neonatal intensive care unit. “Before you know it, I was holding little babies,” Deutchman said. “And 12 years have just flown by.”
“It is very gratifying, not just because the babies are crying and you help them to stop crying,” the 82-year-old said. “There are a lot of benefits to that warm connection of being held—when a baby puts their face against your heartbeat, there’s a benefit there. I came to love it, but not just because of the connection with the babies, but the whole atmosphere of the hospital.”
Deutchman, nicknamed “ICU Grandpa”, volunteers every Tuesday and Thursday and during his time at the hospital, he helps not only the babies but the worried parents as well. “I talk with mothers and sometimes I hold their hand, because holding a mom’s hand is just as important as holding a baby,” Deutchman said. “There’s a lot of stress for these parents. Having somebody tell them they can go get breakfast and assure them I’ll be there with their baby, it means something to them. It’s important.”
“When I drive into that parking lot every other day, I never know what I’m going to see, who I’m going to be meeting, or what challenge will be in front of me,” he says. “It keeps changing, but if there’s anything I can do to make sure people are taken care of, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Can you believe how many families this grandpa has helped over the years? Let us know what you think in the comments below and please SHARE this with friends on Facebook.
[Featured image: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta]