Monday, June 21, 2004

Nursing home all smiles when Irishman pays visit



By Janet Wetzel
Enquirer contributor

Thomas Patrick Michael Tierney has kissed the Blarney Stone, received the traditional gift of gab, and enjoys practicing it regularly.

He loves to make people laugh with jokes or a funny story at Bayley Place, a nursing home in Delhi, where he's a regular volunteer. He has a cheerful word ready for those feeling sick or discouraged, and always takes time to listen.

His silver tongue also comes in handy when he serves as auctioneer or emcee for fund-raisers at Bayley Place, or plays the organ and sings for Mass.

"I like to talk to the residents, cheer them up, make them laugh, keep them happy" said Tierney, 72, of Western Hills. "They love my jokes. As soon as they see me, they ask what the joke of the day is."

Tierney started volunteering in 1994. He had retired as senior vice president of Great American Insurance Co. in 1990, then saw a notice about Bayley Place needing volunteers on the bulletin board at his church, St. Lawrence in Price Hill. He's a lector there, and distributes communion with his wife of 49 years, Ruth.

He learned one of life's most important lessons, "how to treat people," from his boss of 32 years, Carl Lindner. But he said those lessons began in grade school with his teachers, the Sisters of Charity, who run Bayley Place.

"They were such an important part of my education. They taught me so much," he said. "It gives me such pleasure to help them in their mission now. I owe them a lot."

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Do you know a Hometown Hero - someone in your community dedicated to making it a better place to live and helping others? E-mail Janet Wetzel at jjwetzel@siscom.net, or fax to 755-4150.




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