Monday, August 26, 2002

Hometown Hero

Former patient now volunteer

By Janet C. Wetzel
Enquirer contributor

        COLERAIN TWP. - A brain hemorrhage years ago nearly killed Kathryn Hinkle. It stole her ability to walk, and threatened to leave her permanently wheelchair bound. But she fought back.

        She not only walks now, she goes at a near run most of the time on her quest to help others.

        Mrs. Hinkle said she recovered from her 1983 illness through “a miracle from God, the prayers and help of friends, family and all the wonderful helpers at the hospital.”

        After spending a month at the former Providence Hospital, now Mercy Franciscan, in Mount Airy, the single mother of four, who then still had a child at home, struggled to regain her health and her mobility.

        Over the following months, she went from the bed to a wheelchair, a quad cane, then a regular cane. She finally cast them all aside and walked.

        In 1984, she made a triumphant return to her beloved teaching job at Taylor Elementary in Northwest School District.

        In 1989, she went back to the hospital, but for a different reason - to volunteer.

        She's been there 13 years.

        The Colerain Township resident retired from teaching in 1994, ending a career that spanned 27 years, but she continued her volunteer work at the hospital, and just kept adding more, including at her former school.

        Mrs. Hinkle, 71, still delivers flowers to the hospital's patients on Saturdays, and she works in the gift shop a few days each month.

        She tutors every week at Taylor Elementary, has helped screen students for hearing tests for years, and she has helped run the Student Banking Program there for eight years.

        She mentors twice weekly at Hoop Elementary in Mount Healthy for the city's Helping One Student to Succeed program (HOSTS).

        She volunteers for the Krohn Conservatory Butterfly Show, the Mount Healthy 4H Club, has helped with fund raisers for the Cincinnati Ballet, and was a volunteer for the Reading Pals summer program at White Oak Presbyterian Church for two summers.

        “I'm on the go just about every day with my volunteer work,” Mrs. Hinkle said. “I'm thankful to God that he has enabled me to do that.”

        Mrs. Hinkle said it's worth every hour of her time to see the results. “Volunteering provides the satisfaction of helping others, meeting new friends, and paying my rent for being on earth.”

        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 or fax to 513-755-4150.


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