70-Year-Old Teacher With No Wife And Kids Seems Strict But Students Find Out He Volunteers At Children's Hospital
Aug 01, 2022 by apost team
Jim O'Connor, a Vietnam veteran whose nature is most often described as straight and uptight, currently works as a mathematics teacher. He has done his best to educate students in this subject since the mid-1970s. He is known to keep short hair, retaining a military hairstyle. He is often alert, like an eagle watching over his students.
O'Connor also has a commanding voice that many students would not dare defy due to his many years in military service. He rarely condones teenagers' edginess and any noise in his classroom.
According to TODAY, O'Connor is known for his respected character at St. Francis High School in La Cañada, California, where he teaches algebra and calculus. Even the rowdiest of teenage boys take off their hats in O'Connor's presence. And when they learned of O'Connor's softer side back in 2014, they were likely baffled beyond expectations.
Out of class, O'Connor is an entirely different person from the strict character he puts on at school. On weekends and after class at 5 p.m., he drops his strictness and turns into a baby whisperer. O'Connor volunteers at the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, where he sacrifices his time multiple days per week to take care of ill infants.
He has been volunteering for over 20 years now. The mathematics teacher started his volunteer work at the hospital ages back when a pal convinced him to contribute toward making a blood drive successful. Speaking about it years later, O'Connor jokingly said: "I think they put something else back with my blood because I started getting strong urges to donate again."
Be sure to reach the end of this article to see the full video :-)
With an O-negative blood type, O'Connor is a universal donor. He began frequenting the hospital to donate blood and platelets. Since his first contact with the hospital, he has managed to give out 75 gallons of blood and is one of the facility's top blood donors.
After a few times visiting the facility, O'Connor saw sick babies struggling to recover from various illnesses. To his surprise, he found out just how much of a huge cuddler he was. With no kids of his own, O'Connor hadn't given a thought to cuddle therapy for babies. But after that first time, he regularly returned to offer those children what comfort he could. O'Connor, a devout Catholic, described his experience as a baby cuddler in very warm and direct words:
"I've had babies throw up on me, spit up on me — no big deal. But to do this kind of service makes me feel good. I think it is more for me than for them. Babies can't do anything; they are so dependent on you. I know that my blood pressure goes down when I hold them. The rewards of working with babies are simple but powerful."
O'Connor confesses to loving the kids and taking care of them. The medics at the hospital are fond of him, mostly because he is a kid magnet. The video shows how O'Connor shows all his love and care to the ill babies.
The medical staff, in turn, seem to adore him and hold him in the highest regard due to the sacrifices he makes for the kids.
You can watch how he has earned his respect and nickname from his students in the video below.
This is not the only thing O'Connor has done over the years, though. In addition to donating his own blood and volunteering to help babies at the hospital, the motivated veteran math teacher took it even one step further. For several years, he has initiated and kept up an annual blood drive at St. Francis High School, thus collecting even more needed blood donations for local hospitals. And he has also done more for severely ill children. As he has also coached football and baseball for several years, he arranged for terminally ill children to serve as honorary team captains at his high school's sporting events. He explains his work in very humble words:
"My involvement at Children's has opened a whole new world for me. And now, it's become a way of life."
It should be no surprise that somebody who spends so much of his time caring for others is a well-liked and respected figure. In 2015, he became the honoree of the Cardinal's Award Dinner. This special event goes back to the 1980s when the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles wished to honor outstanding community members. The dinner is usually held at the start of the year and showcases and honors five selfless people chosen from the Archdiocese's five pastoral regions. Being Catholic is not a requirement to become an honoree, and non-Catholics have been honored in the past. O'Connor seems to have certainly deserved this honor in 2015.
And this was not the only or the last time O'Connor received a special award for his charity work. In 2016, a mere year later, he had the honor of accepting the Pope Saint John XXIII Award of The Italian Catholic Federation (ICF). This award is the highest honor the ICF can bestow and is given to outstanding Catholic community members who have given exemplary humanitarian service to society. Former award recipients include actors, comedians, volunteers for charities and social services, as well as active members of the clergy. Pasadena Now published a short statement, including messages from members of the community, which showcase how much impact O'Connor's work has had over the years.
The president of St. Francis High School wrote, "Jim has shown that the virtue of love, especially towards those who are defenseless, is a responsibility that each person is called to fulfill. He does it with a great heart. By his work with children, Jim demonstrates that it is our moral duty to care for these children and to advocate for their rights."
And Wendy Kellaris, Manager, Volunteer Resources at Los Angeles Children's Hospital, added, "In his role as a TLC volunteer, Jim makes rounds on the patient units and holds and comforts the little ones who need that extra attention. He truly found his calling as a TLC volunteer. You will never see him that he isn't quietly comforting a fussy infant, a fidgety toddler, a frightened preschooler ... it doesn't matter what the age is, he is their Pied Piper."
Does Jim’s story touch your heart? Do you know anyone who lives a "double life" just like O'Connor? Let us know, and feel free to pass this along to your friends and family.