Giving back gives back – TMC volunteers find true love together

Amidst the busy TMC surgery reception area, a few sparks flew on Tuesday afternoons between volunteers Paul Kelly and Sharon O’Koren. “We just had so much in common,” said Kelly. “From growing up in smaller towns and raising children to our likes and our dislikes – I felt like I could talk to her about anything.”

A lot in common

The two had a lot in common and shared something in common as well. “Paul and Sharon were perfect for surgery reception – both have such helpful attitudes and a sincere rapport with patients,” said Mary Leyva, a volunteer services specialist at the TMC Auxiliary.

Paul and Sharon started volunteering about a year ago, and as the weeks became months, the two volunteers got to know each other better. Both looked forward to volunteering at TMC every Tuesday afternoon – in part because they were making a meaningful difference in the community, and in part because of each other.

“We were doing a lot of good at the reception desk – but I really couldn’t wait to see him,” said Sharon. “We had great talks and great laughs,” Paul said with a smile.


After several months, Paul decided to ask Sharon to dinner. “I didn’t hesitate,” said Sharon. “We really do have a lot in common – even our birthdays are just days apart,” Sharon said. “We really hit it off,” Paul shared.

The question

The two continued to grow closer as they dated due to their shared experiences. “We have both lost our spouses, we both have family in Tucson, graduated high school around the same time and have the same sense of humor – the more time we spent with one-another the more we enjoyed each other’s company,” said Sharon.

What brought them together

Serendipity and an affinity for helping the community brought them together at TMC. “I worked in the medical field for many years and wanted to volunteer in a hospital,” said Sharon. “My daughter is a nurse here in Tucson and she recommended TMC.”

Paul is a retired Raytheon engineer, who originally hails from Jerome, but has called Tucson home for nearly 45 years. “I wanted to volunteer at TMC and give back to the hospital that cared for my family over the years.”

Earlier this month, the couple endeavored to spend the rest of their lives together when Paul popped the question and Sharon said yes!

What’s next for the happy couple? Sharon was quick with an answer. “Plan a wedding and keep volunteering at TMC.”


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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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