Monday, January 9, 2012

Look What I Found:

If you were to ever google "Cernock," you would access a list of our relatives.  No, really.  I've done it a few times and a short list of names come back.  I think there's 2 or 3 on there that we are not related to.  Cernock is a REALLY uncommon last name.  This is David's grandma, she'll be 90 this February and she's still going strong.  

Here she is in 2004 (I think).  

Mercy Hospital Sings Praises Of Volunteer

Grandmother Has Been Helping For 25 Years

September 11, 1991|By Karen Yancey.
``I`m still singing at 69,`` Gertrude Cernock says proudly.
For 25 years, the white-haired grandmother of seven has lent an uplifting voice to hundreds of patients at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center-as a volunteer, not a singer.
A soprano who once gave recitals at the Allerton Hotel and today sings in church and community choirs, Cernock is quick to note she actually has only sung once at the hospital. That was an impromptu performance at a gathering for residents and interns when her late husband, Dr. William F. Cernock, was on the staff.
But her presence is like music to hundreds of hospital patients who welcome her warmth and optimism, hospital staff say.
``Gertrude is an extra-caring person,`` says Mina Carey, coordinator of volunteer services. ``She`ll make time for everyone. We never even had to train her to be a volunteer; in fact, we`ve incorporated her approach to patients in our training program.
``Every volunteer does basic tasks, but Gertrude does things for patients they don`t expect. She raises their spirits without overlooking what brought the patient to the hospital in the first place.``
``Gertrude is a very compassionate woman,`` says Elaine Cari, who also has been a volunteer for 25 years. ``I can`t say enough about her dedication to the patients.``
Cernock began volunteering at Mercy in 1966, after bringing up four children. Her husband was chairman of the hospital`s department of medicine.
``I hardly ever saw him (while volunteering), although once in a while he would ask me to stop and visit a patient of his who was lonely,`` she says.
Cernock became a dedicated volunteer at Mercy. ``I get so much pleasure out of stopping to visit a patient and asking, `What can I do for you today?` `` she says. ``If there are two patients in a room and one gets mail and one doesn`t, I try to talk to the one who doesn`t.``
Although she worked in the gift shop for a short time, Cernock says the patients are what she enjoys most about volunteering. Her current assignment is delivering the mail each Wednesday to patients on six of the eight hospital floors. As she drops off the mail, she stops to visit each patient, asking how she can be of assistance. She runs errands and writes and mails letters, as well as just stopping to talk.
``One time I even washed a patient`s socks for him.`` she says. ``But when he wanted me to do it every week, I had to say no.``
Cernock grew up on Chicago`s West Side and attended Farragut High School. She showed an early interest in music and was a member of her church choir and the high school glee club. She met her husband when she was 16. He played in a neighborhood band, and she auditioned to be the vocalist. She got the job.

After she graduated from high school in 1940, her future husband went to Loyola University School of Medicine, then in Chicago. She worked as a receptionist in the city.
``I was sitting at a bar with two girlfriends one night (while) the war was on. We decided we wanted to do something to help. We checked with the Red Cross, but they didn`t need any more help, so we began working at the local hospital near our homes,`` Cernock says.
So she began her career as a volunteer at St. Anthony Hospital on the Near West Side. She was assigned to the maternity ward.
``In those days, they let you do more as a volunteer-things that the staff does now. I used to hold up the babies for the fathers to see at the nursery window. I loved that job-I could hardly wait to go to the hospital in the evening, and I even went on weekends.
``My most exciting experience was . . . watching a baby being born. It was such a miracle.``
Cernock, who was married in 1945, continued volunteering in the maternity ward until she had her own child in 1946. For the next 21 years, she raised her family, sang in her church choir, taught Sunday School and was involved in community activities in Oak Park, where she lived from 1951 to 1971. The family then moved to Western Springs, where she lives today.
``When we moved to Western Springs, I said I wasn`t going to do any extra volunteer work at church; I was just going to go to services on Sunday,`` she recalls. ``Well, that lasted about a year. I need to know what`s going on-to be informed-and the only way I can do that is by being involved as a volunteer. That`s why I started working at Mercy.``
Mercy, a Catholic hospital founded in 1852 by the Sisters of Mercy, was one of Chicago`s first hospitals and is still on its original site at what is now the Stevenson Expressway and King Drive. When Cernock began volunteering there, it was still operating in its old buildings with its convent, chapel, hospital and nurses` residence.
In 1967 the old buildings were torn down to make room for a new 477-bed hospital. ``I miss the old hospital, with its big wood doors and sisters in habits-it was easier to find your way around,`` Cernock says.

Here she is, December 2011, with all her great grandkids.  

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