Dr. Lucien Brailsford is one of the top three volunteers recognized by Lewis Gale Medical Center's parent company, HCA.
He is making the most of his retirement as a hospital chaplain.
"The best part is to be in people's lives in the situations of struggle and difficulty and sort of to be a mentor in that situation," he says.
After 35 years of being a heart surgeon, Brailsford took off for about a year but decided he needed to do something to stay busy. He comes to Lewis Gale Medical Center two mornings a week and gets a list of patients who need a visit. He also goes to Carilion Clinic two mornings a week and volunteers one evening a week at the Roanoke Rescue Mission Clinic.
"Being involved four mornings a week and one night a week means when I am not working I feel like I am on vacation," Brailsford says. "If I was on vacation all the time, I wouldn't know anything else."
Brailsford is one of more than a dozen physicians who volunteer at the Roanoke Rescue Mission.
"Dr. Brailsford is one of our most awesome volunteers," says Helen Ferguson, the clinic's manager. "He just shows up with a smile. He is always on time and always ready to see patients. Even when it is just giving a few words of comfort he is just right there ready to give it to the patients or the staff."
"I don't reach my fullest potential outside of my involvement with other people," Brailsford says.