As we head into National Women’s Month in March, KGET and Dignity Health are honoring remarkable women making differences in our community. This week we meet a woman who has been working for fifty plus years on countless boards and charities across Kern County, but not for a paycheck.
Sharon Bush is a career volunteer. After having children she left her job as a nurse but she didn’t slow down.
“My very first, 50 years ago, was the Medical Society Auxiliary. It was doctors’ wives who had an organization and we raised money for nursing scholarships and we had a fundraiser it was called the Nightingale Ball,” said Bush.
The list of projects she’s worked on reads like a rundown of the biggest charitable events in Kern County.
She was part of the board that started relay for life. As a board member for the Victim Witness Auxiliary, she helped start the fog run.
Sharon volunteered for countless causes. From the great smokeout to junior league. Serving as a hospice volunteer, helping with the Buck Owen’s golf tournament, and volunteering at the Heart Association just to name a few.
We asked her if she knows the word “no.”
“You know what? I didn’t used to,” said Bush. “But I do now because of my grandchildren. I don’t have as much time and energy. I’m gonna be 77.”
These days you are more likely to find her with those grandkids and her fun-loving family than at a charity ball. But even as she says she’s slowing down, she’s taking on perhaps her most ambitious project yet with the friends of Mercy Foundation.
“We are in the middle of our huge capital campaign to build a new tower for the southwest hospital,” said Bush. “It’s sorely needed. As you know, the population growth on this side of town is crazy. The population is aging and we need a new hospital.”
Their lofty goal? Raise twelve-and-a-half million dollars. When we met, Sharon was excited to share they had hit five million.
“I always wanted to work for an organization I believed in,” said Bush. ”My friends know when I call, I might be asking for something.”
But they still answer, and this is probably why.
“If I’m out asking my friends and community to do something, I feel like I need to have contributed first,” said Bush.
And she’s contributed a lot through these five decades of community service. But perhaps the biggest legacy she’ll leave will be this:
“I’m not gonna be here forever. We are passing this onto our kids and their children,” said Bush.
KGET received dozens of nominations for the remarkable women contest and our committee has narrowed it down to four finalists. You can see their stories on Tuesdays here on KGET.com and on 17 News at Sunrise.
Don’t miss Sunrise on Friday, March 6th when we announce our winner who will get a trip to New York.