Bob Scuderi - Bayfront Seven Rivers Hospital
At age 87, Bob Scuderi found himself facing one of life’s biggest challenges. He handled the situation by volunteering to help others. For his diligent work as a volunteer in the Emergency Department at Bayfront Seven Rivers Hospital, Scuderi has been named a Healthcare Hero.
In 2018, Scuderi’s wife of 69 years, Eleanor, passed away. The retired carpenter and Korean War veteran knew he needed to find something to do.
“I was depressed. After 69 years, it’s hard to be alone,” he said. “My kids told me I couldn’t just stay in the house, that it wasn’t good for me.”
Scuderi had worked part-time as a transporter for 14 years at Bayfront Seven Rivers, so he felt familiar with the facility. He went back and asked if he could do something.
“I came back to the hospital because I knew so many people,” he said. “I signed up as a volunteer and they asked me where I wanted to work. I asked if I could volunteer in the emergency room. I wanted to keep busy.”
Keep busy, he does. Scuderi volunteers from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. four to five days a week, stocking and cleaning in the emergency department.
“I’m not in a hurry to go home,” Scuderi said.
“Bob is one of the hardest working volunteers in our hospital. He is 87 years young, and works many hours,” said his nomination. “He is always pleasant with staff and patients, and always hard working and seeking to keep busy.”
“Bob works so many hours, I thought he was an employee!” added Linda Stockton, Bayfront Seven Rivers chief executive officer. “What he does is a great contribution to our hospital, and our community.
Scuderi restocks linens, a constant need in a busy emergency department. He also strips beds in exam rooms and helps to clean and disinfect the rooms, so they are ready for the next patient. He gets his exercise, too, bringing specimens back and forth from the hospital’s lab.
“Bob works harder as a volunteer than some we pay,” said Jennifer Russel, RN, Emergency Department clinical coordinator. “He is hilarious, he’s always got us laughing. He is loved in the ER.”
Scuderi credits his upbringing for his work ethic.
“I’m old school,” he said. “My dad said, ‘if you’re going to do a job, do it right or not at all. The staff here is amazed at how I go around this place; ‘you’re non-stop,’ they tell me. But I can’t sit around. They’ve been very kind to me here.”
The Brooklyn native served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1951 to 1954, part of that time in Korea.
“I made a lot of friends. Some of them didn’t come back,” he said.
After his military service, Scuderi worked with his father. Both were plasterers and worked on some of the better hotels in Manhattan. He and Eleanor, and their two children, Robert and Gina, moved to Altmonte Springs, Florida, in 1984, where Scuderi worked as a carpenter for a construction company. In 2000, the Scuderis “sort of retired” to Crystal River.
“I closed down my shop and sold all my tools,” Scuderi said. “We had heard a lot about Crystal River, but that it had only two things – golf or fishing. I don’t golf but I like to fish.”
Scuderi met his wife when she was in high school and he was in the Marines.
“In those days, it was a courtship. We’d sit out on her front stoop and hold hands,” he recalled. “When it would start getting dark, her father would flash the porch light, so I knew it was time to go home.
“When I’d come home on leave, I’d visit her at her school. It was an all-girls school. I always made sure I wore my uniform – the girls ate that up!”
Scuderi’s two children also stayed in Florida. His son and grandson live in Leesburg; his daughter in Gainesville.
When asked why he thinks he got this award, Scuderi doesn’t have an answer.
“The staff keeps saying thank you, Bob, but it’s not that way,” he said. “I thank them. They’ve done more for me than I’ve done for them.”