“I’m having fun”: 92-Year-Old Fargo Veteran Refuses to Retire

Bob Shirley started working as a greeter at Sanford Health two years ago

FARGO, N.D. — Love what you do and work becomes so much more than a chore.

One Fargo man is not only living proof of that. Bob Shirley is not ready to leave anytime soon is creating such a lasting impact on all of those around him.

When you look past the outside of Sanford’s downtown clinic, you sure do find someone special inside.

“You can’t help but bond with him because that is just the type of person he is,” said Kirsten Bruestle, supervisor of greeters and guest services at Sanford Health. 

Two years ago, Shirley started working as a valet driver at Sanford Medical Center during the winter.

“Since then, they moved me around to the various Sanford facilities. Once they got tired of me, they kept moving me now here I am,” Shirley said.

Finding his home, at Sanford’s downtown clinic.

“He is there to put a smile on everybody’s face. To make people forget about what they’re there for,” Bruestle said. 

“A lot of courageous people come in here. A lot of people come in here with children. It’s a great feeling to feel that you might be needed,” Shirley said.

During World War II, it was his country who needed him.

“I was drafted into the Navy right out of high school,” Shirley said.

Shirley was a corpsman, or medic, helping rehabilitate injured marines who were sent back to the states and later, an x–ray technician. Once the war was over, Shirley dipped his toe in all kinds of job industries. But after three attempts at retiring, the soon–to–be 93–year–old still wants to provide a little service to those in his community.

“Hope I’m doing a little bit of good for somebody because a lot of people did good for me. If somebody walks through that door and 18 and young and beautiful, I go to open that door for them. And if they come here with a cane, I open that door for them. If they come up and they need a wheelchair, I go out and help them.”

As long as people will need a friendly “hello” and a warm smile, he may never retire.

“I have fun. When I can’t have fun, I’m going to pick up my marbles and go home,” Shirley said.

Because there’s no reason to quit having the time of his life.

Bob and his best friend from third grade, 93-year-old John Richards, went on the Honor Flight two weeks ago.

Categories: Community, Local News, North Dakota News