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Miss Flo - making first impressions count

Miss Flo - making first impressions count

Most companies and organizations are keenly aware that your first impression when you come to visit is, indeed, a lasting one. That's why West Florida Hospital says they found a jewel when Miss Flo came to volunteer at the front desk.

The phone rings; "Patient information. Can I help you?" That's the sweet voice of Miss Flo.

Kendrick Doidge, Vice President of Business and Public Relations for West Florida Hospital, knows it well.

"Miss Flo is unbelievable; the first impression, the first image that you get when you come to the hospital. That smiling face; that helping hand, that giving heart," Droidge said.

Every Tuesday and Friday, Florence Leonard, or Miss Flo, is that smiling face greeting visitors at West Florida Hospital. It was a difficult time in her own life that brought her here but at the same time, she says it gave her peace and purpose.

"My husband was a patient here and they were so good to him that after he passed away, I decided I would give back what they gave him," she explained.

Doidge says she's been giving back and a long time.

"Twenty-seven years, 10,200 hours; it's unbelievable the time commitment she has given. The energy that she brings every day; the passion that she has to help other people and serve with an open heart is something that we all learn from," Doidge said.

She always comes with that sweet spirit, that beautiful smile. Doidge tells us that she doesn't come empty-handed.

"She brings in baked goods. She does this at home and brings them in for patients, staff, family members," Doidge said.

Today's treat is her famous buttermilk pound cake. Miss Flo says you shouldn't bother to count calories with this one.

"Well, that is made with Crisco, and margarine, butter, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and baking soda," she listed off. And that's not your garden variety vanilla. She laughingly shares a secret that hers is a special brand.

"It's a lot more tangy than the regular vanilla. And it might even have a little bit of rum in it," she said.

Did I mention she has a little devilish fun side too. Miss Flo says she plans to keep on sharing it and giving back to this place.

"As long as I can possibly go. I'm not going to give up. Even when I get to be 100, I'm going to be here," Miss Flo said.

That would give West Florida six more years at least. You see this spry volunteer is only 94 years old and still leaves here with a good feeling at the end of every shift.

"That I have done something good. I have made somebody smile; at least one person smile. And make them feel better, as much as I can," she said.

Angels In Our Midst is sponsored by Nemours Children's Specialty Care.

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