Retired geriatric nurse volunteers 15 years as "Bingo Guru" for retirement home
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. —
Twice a week in Chattanooga, you'll hear a very special woman calling out "Bingo!" at a retirement community.
She's been volunteering since 2003, organizing fun activities and birthday parties for seniors.
In this week's Pay It Forward, Jessica Harthorn surprises her in the middle of a big game.
Before Bingo, Cladie Arnold was a geriatric nurse for 40 years.
After retirement, she says she wanted to give back to the people she'd grown to love like family.
So she started volunteering as the "Bingo Guru" at Parkwood Retirement Center in Chattanooga.
That was 15 years ago. Today she's still going strong.
Her voice is smooth as glass.
"N-32," called out Cladie Arnold.
And her focus, razor sharp.
"N-4-5." said Cladie.
"Bingo!" yelled a resident at Parkwood.
"Ok, we got a bingo!" said Cladie.
As Cladie Arnold was calling out a rousing game of Bingo, we were hiding around the corner with resident Eugene Blaes, a man who rarely misses a game.
"You get the chance to win $1 or sometimes maybe $2, and people are just that way, they get so excited about winning something," said Eugene.
But today, it's Cladie's turn to win some cold hard cash.
"Cladie, will you stand up for a minute?" asked Eugene.
"Oh no!" said Cladie.
"Yes, stand up for a minute. You've done so much for us through the years, it's time for you to get your recognition. So we got something for you here. Put out your hand, on behalf of the Insiders at the McMahan Law Firm and Newschannel 9, they want to make a presentation. There's a picture. I think its a Benjamin Franklin," surprised Eugene.
Eugene handed over five benjamins and she thanked him with a big 'ole hug.
"This is a great surprise, it really is, and I enjoy it more than they do," said Cladie.
Its why Cladie continued calling out the game and Eugene quickly took a seat...
Cladie says the folks at Parkwood have become her family, that means her days of organizing Bingo will never be numbered.
"I love all my residents, I love them all," said Cladie.
Do you know someone who deserves $500 for volunteering? Nominate them here.