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Helping families puts a smile on Ronald McDonald House volunteer's face

Volunteer Patricia Rucker at the Ronald McDonald House in Aurora.png
Posted at 6:20 AM, Mar 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-07 08:20:27-05

AURORA, Colo. – When families check in to the Ronald McDonald House in Aurora, Patricia Rucker is often the first person to show them around.

She's been greeting families since 2018. Rucker says the volunteer job is a perfect fit.

“I don’t have many skills, but I can talk you to death,” she said with a laugh.

Rucker's friendly face is something many of the families who stay at the Ronald McDonald House really need.

“Because, you know, they've been at the hospital all day and they just need a distraction,” she said.

Volunteer manager Kylie Erlandson says even when volunteer program was shut down during the height of the pandemic, Rucker still managed to help out — putting in more than 500 hours of service during that time period alone. But Erlandson says all their volunteers are rock stars.

“The people that will come here and volunteer with us — make a meal, serve the meal or sit at our front desk for three hours and help the families — those are heroes to us,” Erlandson said. “They're heroes to our families.”

The Ronald McDonald House is just one of Rucker's volunteer gigs. She volunteers at races around the Denver metro area, Food Bank of the Rockies and even at Children’s Hospital where many of the families who utilize the Aurora Ronald McDonald House are actually staying.

“I'm always looking for the green wristbands because I know if they have a green wristband, they're staying here,” she said. “And I be like, ‘Are you staying at the Ronald McDonald House?’ And they be like, ‘Yeah.’ And I'm like, ‘I'm there on Wednesdays.’"

Whether she’s spending those Wednesdays at the front desk or giving new families a tour, it’s clear the Ronald McDonald House means as much to Rucker as it does to the families she is lending a hand to.

“It means a lot to me to see somebody happy because there's so much going on in the world,” Rucker said. “So, if you can put a smile on somebody's face, it goes a long ways.”

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