Retired pastor donates hundreds of flowers to Albany nurses

6/1/2020

By Kara Witherow, Editor

Even though Rev. Larry Roberts lives nearly 350 miles from Albany, the south Georgia town is never far from his heart.

Rev. Roberts retired and moved to Lake Junaluska, N.C. in 1999, but served throughout the South Georgia Conference for 40 years, including stints in Preston, Americus, Blakely, and Moultrie. His son, Ben, lives and works in Albany as director of public relations and communications for Phoebe Putney Health System.

So when Rev. Roberts heard that Albany had become a coronavirus hotspot, he decided to do something to honor the women and men who are helping heal and save lives.

On Tuesday, May 12, during National Nurses Week, Rev. Roberts purchased 650 carnations to distribute to the Phoebe Putney Health System nursing staff. The carnations were given to nurses as they left work at Phoebe’s main and north hospital campuses. They were also delivered to other Phoebe facilities in Albany. 

“I wanted to do something to call attention to them and what they’re doing,” Rev. Roberts said.

While Rev. Roberts never served a church in Albany, he regularly visited church members in the hospital, became friends with nurses and hospital staff, and saw their dedication to patients.

“Albany’s always been close to my heart,” he said. “Throughout my ministry, when I was visiting the hospital, I got to know a lot of nurses, so I’ve always felt that they worked hard and did a lot of the work.”

Goldie Morrow is a registered nurse who has worked on one of Phoebe Putney’s COVID-19 floors since the pandemic hit Albany. Receiving a flower at the end of a long workday was a nice surprise, she said.

“It made me feel very special that somebody was thinking of me,” said Morrow, who works 12-hour shifts on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. “To walk out and be handed a carnation was very, very nice, very thoughtful. I thank him so much for doing that for us. It meant a lot and everybody was very excited and very touched by it.”

It was a joy to spread goodwill, Rev. Roberts said.

“I hoped it would brighten their day and call attention to them and remind some folks of their efforts.”