Vietnam Vet Rocks Babies at Women’s Hospital
Ron Simpson becomes the first “Manny” in the hospital’s NICU Nannies Program.
Ron Simpson doesn’t look like a nanny. With his goatee and wavy gray hair, he looks like the grandfather of five that he is. But at Women’s Hospital, he is the first man to join an elite group of volunteers called the NICU Nannies.
Ron Simpson, NICU Manny
The specially trained volunteers cradle and cuddle the most fragile newborns. These tiny miracles with their tubes and wires, find peace in Simpson’s arms and in the rhythm of the rocker as Simpson slowly moves back and forth.
Simpson has always loved children. As a teen, he helped in the church nursery and taught neighborhood children how to ride a bicycle.
He recalls babysitting for 50 cents an hour while receiving an additional quarter for the more challenging children, usually unruly boys. Today, he cherishes time with his grandkids and the newborns he works with at Women’s Hospital.
The other nannies call Simpson a “manny.” He doesn’t seem to mind. Simpson first heard about the NICU Nannies from a friend. A NICU Nanny is a lot like a nanny in the home. They run unit errands; greet visitors; restock supplies; answer phones; and rock, hold and feed babies. They truly are a part of the team. The opportunity to become one struck a chord with Simpson. He felt strongly that the NICU babies – and their families – could benefit from a “Paw-Paw,” a reassuring grandfather figure. When a highly coveted opening became available, he knew the stars were aligned.
Earlier in his life, Simpson served in Vietnam, and was a combat veteran. In his later years, he has had his own health challenges, including open heart surgery and cancer. This role brings him peace. And Simpson says just as much, if not more, comfort and joy to him as to those he serves.
“God blesses me with each day, and I want to help babies feel loved. They are our future,” reflected Simpson, who is thankful for his new role. “Recently, a mom told me she was so glad I was holding her baby. That made me feel truly blessed.”