Bernice Persico Clarke is celebrating her 50 year anniversary volunteering
with Queen of the Valley Medical Center. She began volunteering a decade
after the hospital officially opened its doors on March 3, 1958 and has
been volunteering one or two days a week ever since.
“The past 50 years went by so quickly, but that’s what happens
when you are enjoying yourself,” she said.
When she began volunteering in 1968, Persico Clarke had just relocated
to Napa from Kansas City with her three sons to be closer to family. Her
husband had just passed from a heart condition and it was the kind nature
of the caregivers who treated her husband that inspired her to become
a hospital volunteer. She balanced caring for her children and a career
with volunteering at The Queen on the weekends.
Over the last 50 years, she has volunteered in a variety of areas, including
the gift shop, human resources, security, and the information/reception
desk in the emergency department and main lobby. Today, she volunteers
in the Outpatient Surgery & Procedures Center, answering phones, ensuring
patient packets are in full supply and greeting patients. She has seen
the hospital grow from a “cozy” 90-bed hospital, to the 208-bed
medical center it is today.
“The biggest change was the addition of the Herman Family Pavilion.
[The hospital] has come a long way,” she said, also noting that
many things remain the same. “The roses, it seems like they have
always been in front of the hospital. And, the employees, they have always
been so nice, and very appreciative.”
The Queen played a pivotal role in Persico Clarke’s life. It was
at the Queen that she met her second husband, Bill, when they both happened
to visit a friend who was admitted to the hospital at the same time. The
couple celebrated their 20th anniversary this year. Shortly after they
married, Bill also began to volunteer at Queen of the Valley and they
volunteer together to this day.
This week, April 15-21, the hospital is celebrating Bill, Bernice and nearly
200 volunteers during National Healthcare Volunteer Week. A formal luncheon
will take place to honor the volunteers on Friday, May 4. To learn more
about how you can become a Queen of the Valley volunteer, visit