Hal Davenport, 89, was honored recently for his 10,000 hours of volunteer service at Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake.
“That absolutely blows me away,” PBX Operator Sharon Masterson said.
Masterson appreciates Davenport’s help with people who often stop at her office near the front door. She said he’s the ultimate host when taking visitors to their destinations instead of telling them how to get there.
Once people finish their business in the hospital, Masterson said they often come back looking for “that nice man.” No doubt the Dallas native has entertained many with his humor… or a practical joke.
Just ask LouAnne Smith, the Volunteer Coordinator at Doctors Hospital.
As a youngster, Davenport gave his mom a present that only a mother could love. Decades later, he entrusted that gift to Smith, an animal lover and former zoo employee. The gift? A gigantic leg bone. However, it’s not just any leg bone. The family heirloom is the only remains of dearly departed Raymond, a mule that once roamed the family farm. Just like its former owner, Smith displays the keepsake with a festive ribbon during the Christmas season.
“In the 36 years of managing volunteers, it is the most unusual gift I ever got,” Smith said, laughing.
Davenport’s wit, optimism and love for people were the qualities Smith was looking for in a hospital ambassador. She just had to convince the bashful Davenport that he was perfect for the job after his many years of volunteering away from the public eye.
His wife, Judy, found her bespectacled husband just as charming when they met in North Carolina. Davenport, who was a bachelor at her workplace in the 1940s, sent daily letters to his mom in Dallas while serving in the Air Corps. Judy said all the female employees noticed their boss’s endearing loyalty. As a parting joke before his transfer to another state, the ladies stole the blank envelopes intended for his mother and scribbled their own addresses on them. However, the blue-eyed gentleman kept in touch only with Judy.
The couple moved to Dallas and married in 1947, then bought a home in the city’s Lochwood neighborhood where they raised their daughter. After 43 years as a Mobil Oil employee, Davenport retired and started volunteering at Doctors Hospital in 1985. Three years later, he began also helping at the Ladies of Charity thrift store on Samuell Boulevard. He served as their fix-it guy, but resigned recently when the store relocated. His tender side emerged when referring to the thrift-store workers as part of the family. “That’s the way a lot of people are at the hospital,” Davenport said. “They’re my family. I love that bunch of people.”