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Amazing Suncoast Woman - Jane Boaks

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SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - Today's "Amazing Suncoast Woman" will soon celebrate her 95th birthday, and she's just now retiring after a life time of service to others. Her friends and colleagues gathered to wish her well.


Jane Boaks is retiring after 31 years of volunteering at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. She says it has greatly enhanced her life.

It was a day of goodbyes, of memories shared, and good wishes for the future.

Jane says, "One of my volunteers said, you go home after you leave here, put up your feet, have a drink , and you know you have done something important today. That is how I feel."

She says all the walking as a volunteer at SMH has kept her physically strong.

"We do 4 to 6 miles on a shift," she notes.

And working with patients, doctors and nurses has kept her mentally alert.

"We take people where they are going. wound care, infusion, x- ray, emergency room, we do all the blood runs, we go to Central Supply to bring anything needed to doctors and nurses," she said.

Jane was an Army nurse in World War II.

She joined in January 1945, as soon as she finished nursing school. She served in hospitals over seas, treating service men injured in battle.

"Then I flew for American Airlines for a year. I went back into the Army Air force to be an air vac nurse and I met my husband and in the meantime we got married."

She met her husband while he was a patient of hers in a military hospital.

"He said he was on crutches so he couldn't run very fast to get away from me. But really, he didn't try," Boaks said.

He had been wounded in Germany. He spent 5 years in the hospital. Then they moved to Detroit, where he worked for Ford Motor Company over 30 years, and in 1980 the moved to Sarasota .They have 2 sons and 4 grand children . Her husband died over 20 years ago, making her volunteer work at Sarasota Memorial Hospital even more important to her.

She says, "We do all the flowers , all the mail, you name it, we do it. "

And her life lesson: "Count your blessings, be so thankful. I am so thankful for the wonderful life I've had."

Sure you'll have some tough times, but Jane says you can get thru them.

"Just kind of roll with it, go with the flow , that's what I do. And stay with the 21st century.And be interested, have interests, that's what keeps you going."

Jane Boaks has given 16000 volunteer hours to Sarasota Memorial Hospital, the most of any one to date,