Rodney Price is a retired police officer and Vietnam War Veteran who is a participant in the Visit-A-Bit program at the Visiting Nurse Association of Greater St. Louis (VNA), a program for which he is thankful as it’s given him somebody who truly listens.
Rodney graduated from Crystal City High School in Crystal City, MO, after which he enlisted in the service and got to see a lot of the world, including New Zealand, Australia, India and Japan. Upon returning to the States, Rodney decided to become a police officer, an interest of his since he was young. Rodney is passionate about helping people and saw the position as an opportunity to do so.
After suffering a heart attack, Rodney left police work directly and went on to become an investigator for lawyers as a special processor for the county, a teacher at police academies and later worked for a juvenile high security facility.
Rodney joined Visit-A-Bit after his insurance got him in touch with VNA, who referred Rodney to the program. After being contacted by Michele Prevedel, Manager of the Visit-A-Bit program, he set up his first visit with his volunteer, and the two have remained friends since.
“[My volunteer] is a very nice lady, and she has some health issues too,” says Rodney. “I look up to her for inspiration because she’s done so well with her problems, and it helps me do better by talking to her.”
Rodney and his volunteer have been paired together for seven months, and as things have opened back up during the pandemic, they’ve been able to transition from phone visits to visiting restaurants and playing cards together in person. Rodney hopes to visit a museum with her.
“It helps fill the void sometimes, especially with COVID-19 and friends being afraid to get together,” says Rodney. “It’s nice to know somebody’s out there and calling. I’ve got a few friends who call as well, but it always cheers me up when she does.”
One of the things that impresses Rodney most about his volunteer and Michele is how intentional they are about listening. “With seniors, a lot of people just don’t listen. They hear, but they don’t listen, and that’s a big plus of this. It’s one of the hardest things for anyone to do.”
“To sum it up, it’s nice that someone takes interest,” says Rodney. “As you get older, it seems like people listen to you less, so it’s nice to have an ear… Maybe this will give somebody a little bit of inspiration to stop and listen.”