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Super Senior: Jean Fangsrud gets 'paid in hugs' as a volunteer in Billings

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Posted at 9:49 PM, Mar 11, 2024

BILLINGS — Almost every weekday, you will find Jean Fangsrud volunteering and making a difference in her community.

As a new school day dawns, she is at St. Francis school working as a crossguard, making sure children make it inside safely.

“I love those kids. They are my little buddies,” she says.

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It’s clear from watching that she is quite popular with many of them.

“I get paid in hugs. I don’t get a salary, but I get paid in hugs,” she says.

Serving as a crosswalk guard is just one of Fangsrud’s volunteer jobs. An hour later, she is busy inside the St. Vincent Hospital gift shop, where she also volunteers.

“She has got a lot of energy. She is almost like an energizer bunny. She just keeps going and going,” says Jane Krizek, the volunteer coordinator for the Hospital.

“That’s my life. Keeping busy keeps you young,” Fangsrud laughs.

Fangsrud spent 30 years working in the banking industry before she retired. She’s been volunteering at St. Vincent Hospital for about seven years now.

“What I wanted to do was hold babies. They had put an ad in the paper and had 400 applicants and my name wasn’t picked. Darn. But I got a lovely letter saying there were other opportunities. So, I called,” she says.

Fangsrud did eventually get the chance to hold those babies. She now also volunteers one day a week in the NICU.

“Oh, I got to hold some of those babies and I tell you it is my therapy. You go up there and you get those little, teeny, tiny ones. They are just so vulnerable, but they are just the sweetest things ever,” she smiles.

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She also knows it can make a big difference in their young lives.

“Babies that are in the NICU that are cuddled daily are out of the NICU about 15 to 18 days sooner than they normally would. We are there to take care of those little people,” she says.

Just some of the ways this Super Senior is making a difference in her community.

Click here to nominate for Q2’s Super Senior segment.