Although Gene could never see or read sheet music, he learned to play piano as a child.
Born with a vision impairment, he visited Dignity Health’s Low Vision Center at St. Mary Medical Center throughout his adult life. Grateful for the care he received, Gene wanted to give back—which he did by serving as a hospital volunteer for 30 years. Then he discovered another way he could touch the lives of those visiting the hospital—by playing the piano.
“No one ever wants to be in a hospital,” Gene said. “But if you have to be here, it’s nice to come and listen to a song and get your mind off your worries for a while. I really enjoy it.”
Every weekday, Gene takes a 7:00 a.m. public bus to the hospital where he plays hundreds of songs, each from memory, in the lobby for patients and family members coming to see their loved ones.
Gene’s dedication to serving his community is celebrated by hospital staff and visitors alike. He was presented with a humankindness award during National Volunteer Appreciation Week, and he has become lovingly known at St. Mary as the “Piano Man.”
“If it makes people feel good, then it makes me feel good.”—Gene Rogers