Giving nature

Many people look forward to retirement for the extra free time they’ll have to pursue the hobbies they love.

For Jess Shively and Betty Blakely, their senior years have been about more than just playing golf or taking up knitting.

The two Franklin residents have made volunteering a central core of their lives. The duo have put in thousands of hours of service at Johnson Memorial Hospital, and each has given their time to other organizations throughout the community.

Their dedication earned Shively and Blakely the Golden Hoosier Award, Indiana’s highest honor for senior citizen volunteers. They were two of 19 people to receive the award this year.

Being named a Golden Hoosier was a surprise to both Shively and Blakely. But to those who see the hard work they put in daily, the honor has been a long time coming.

“They both have what I would consider to be a selfless work ethic, and they’re extremely loyal to the causes they support,” said Gina Huff, volunteer services coordinator for Johnson Memorial Hospital. “Both of them defy the expectation that when you get older, you can’t make a difference, because they both make a tremendous difference to the community and the hospital.”

Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2727.