There’s a reason you’ll find a regional bank vice president waiting on customers at Madeleine’s Boutique and Unique Gifts at St. Mary’s Medical Center two Saturdays a month before she takes Communion to Catholic patients. Ora Muth loves serving.
“My faith is my world,” said Muth, who in mid-2022 added St. Mary’s Foundation board member to her list of community contributions. “That’s why I love giving to others. That’s part of what God has instilled in me to do. One of my prayers kneeling at mass is, ‘God, please use me so I can be pleasing to You.’”
A 45-year veteran in the banking industry, Muth is a regional vice president at City National Bank, a Charleston-based institution with more than 90 locations in a four-state region. Her financial skills are an asset to the SMMC Foundation as its board reviews budgets and fundraising initiatives to help a key member of Mountain Health Network expand services and move local health care on to new frontiers.
Her volunteer service to Mountain Health Auxiliaries started with a basic reason: her son Paul needed extra service hours to fulfill high school requirements. After calling Cabell Huntington Hospital for information, she decided to volunteer as well. For most of his junior and senior years, the mother and son spent two Saturday evenings a month answering phones and directing visitors to patient rooms.
“My job at City National Bank is my life – it’s busy and it’s hectic,” Muth said. “The gift shop is so relaxing for me, it’s fun.” She volunteers from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. two Saturdays a month. “I look forward to going there. I run the cash register, stock shelves and help customers. Men sometimes need guidance to help put a gift together or because a loved one is sick – sometimes very sick. If I can help someone have a brighter day, that’s worth its weight in gold.”
The joy continues after she leaves Madeleine’s and serves Communion. It usually takes an hour to deliver bread to the eight to 10 patients who request it at check-in times. Muth has plenty of experience for the task, since she is a Eucharist Minister and Lector at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Huntington.
She especially enjoys taking the elements to patients at holiday times like Christmas and Easter, since some don’t have family in the area and can be feeling lonely.
“When you walk into someone’s room and they realize you’re not there to talk about something medical and you tell them you’re part of pastoral care and want to give them a blessing as part of the body of Christ, their eyes light up,” she said.
With the Muth family, connections to SMMC run deep. Before a career change, her son was a pharmacy technician at the hospital for ten years. Her sister, Jackie Jackson, has been a nurse practitioner there for 20 years, visiting patients as a member of the hospitalist teams.
Raised in a working-class family in a modest section of Parkersburg, West Virginia, Muth said they often wondered how their parents managed to be so generous, but she and Jackie are grateful for all their valuable life lessons.
“I love anything that revolves around serving others,” Muth said. “I feel like that’s what I’ve been put here to do. God has been good to me and I feel I need to share my bounty with others.”