Answering a Calling
Helen Hornsby said she felt the call to give back to the ministry after everything members from her childhood church did to support her.
Thirty-eight years as a social worker, 18 of those at Saint Joseph Hospital, Helen said she had a tough childhood. She moved out of her home with her single mother and siblings into a one-bedroom apartment shared by six people.
“My childhood and youth years were tough at times,” Helen said. “My parents got divorced when I was 10, and we moved out of a house into a one bedroom, one bathroom apartment with six of us living there. We didn’t have a car the entire time and financially things were tight.
“When I was 10, people from the church down the street began to love me, share Jesus with me, and made sure I had rides to church services, children and youth events. If there was a trip they felt I needed or wanted to go on, they paid for me to go. I started singing solos in choir at an early age, and they saw my gift and encouraged me to use it. They poured into me, invested in me and encouraged me to go to college. I knew I wanted to help others in the way they helped me and felt God calling me into social work.”
Helen pursued a career as a social worker to connect people in need to resources after being a recipient herself.
“It’s brought so much fulfillment for a career, knowing you're helping people face uphill battles and knowing you’ve made a difference in their lives,” Helen said.
A challenge she has faced throughout her entire career is relying on some of the resources that don’t always come through as quickly as needed and how the needs of many weigh on her emotions.
“On my way to work, I pray and listen to praise and worship,” Helen said. “That calms me for the day and gives me inner strength. I say, ‘Lord, use me in whatever way you can today.’”
Helen is married to Leonard, her husband of 43 years, and they have three children and six grandchildren. She enjoys traveling to Georgia and Texas to see her sons. Helen’s daughter works as a nurse at a local hospital and just gave birth to her first child in May. Helen said they’re excited to have a grandchild close by to help babysit and enjoy.
Helen plans to retire next year, and looks forward to traveling to Florida with her husband and taking trips to visit her sons in Georgia and Texas. Helen is also happy to begin babysitting her newest grandson in her free time.
Helen’s faith is her foundation. She is active in her church in Richmond, but during the pandemic, she said she enjoyed watching her sons lead virtual services every Sunday.