Hometown Heroes: Victoria Bedo

By M.G. Angulo –

Victoria Bedo.

The most memorable wedding anniversary Victoria Bedo ever experienced surprisingly came in the midst of one of the most turbulent times in Fort Bend County: the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. Roads and neighborhoods were flooded, people were displaced from their homes and all around the county people were in despair trying figure out what step they should take next.

“My son, Andrew, is a baptist minister in San Antonio, and he brought a team to Brookshire to cook meals for people who were flooded out,” Bedo recalled. “This was during my wedding anniversary, and he asked if I wanted to come out and help.” Bedo had the desire but doubted her and her husband’s ability to safely navigate through the saturated streets. “But we did it,” Bedo said. “My husband Drew and I found a way down Highway 36 and we helped cook over 500 meals on our anniversary. It was the best.

“I think volunteering fills a niche that isn’t always filled when people are working for a wage,” she continued. “You’re obviously not looking for a wage when you volunteer, but you are looking to be helpful and make life easier for someone else.” And for Bedo, it is a wonderful feeling to be blessed enough to help and to be a blessing to others.

Bedo, who retired after 12 years as a Lamar Consolidated High School principal, said through her years in education — including being an assistant principal at B.F. Terry High School for seven years and a teacher in both Houston and Michigan — she witnessed the power of volunteering. “We valued our volunteers and the work they did very much,” she said. “Some of the things they did were absolutely amazing and added such value to the school district and the school.”

Victoria Bedo can primarily be found operating the gift shop at OakBend Medical Center.

So when Bedo decided to retire, she knew she needed to find a way “to give back to the community.” Instead of walking school halls, Bedo can now be found walking the corridors of OakBend Medical Center every Wednesday where she’s been a volunteer for the past eight years. She is primarily found in the gift shop, but as president of the hospitality’s volunteer auxiliary, she mixes in with a range of efforts from silent auctions, craft and bake sales and raffles.

Bedo was even the one who brought the idea of Power of the Pur$e – a fundraiser that benefits OakBend’s skilled nursing unit – to the auxiliary. Over the past five to six years, the auxiliary has raised $150,000 for the skilled nursing unit and $25,000 has been donated over the past three years from the Power of the Pur$e proceeds.

“Everything from the gift shops to the fundraisers benefits OakBend, which is an excellent hospital, ” Bedo said. “The funds help provided for needs like new beds, new furniture and rehab machines.”

Focusing on funds to support the hospital is not Bedo’s only driving motivation. What she looks forward to is being a kind face to patients.

“As a volunteer, you have no idea why they are in the hospital or what may be wrong,” she said. “But you do know they need a friendly face, that they may need help finding a wheelchair, the lab or an office. It is important for us to walk the halls in the hospital to help anyone who may be going through a traumatic experience.

“As a volunteer you must demonstrate compassion and understanding,” she added, explaining that part of her duties include interviewing potential volunteers. “It is essential to humanize the business of medicine to help with the healing process.”

Bedo knows that as much as volunteering helps others, it also helps her. Since she has taken on her role at OakBend she said she has gained a new perspective on life. “Before volunteering, I guess I defined myself by the work I did. When I was in education and administration, where I loved the kids, parents and teachers, I was limited to that area. Volunteering has given me a wider range of seeing what needs to be done in my community,” Bedo said.

“I found there is a new world out there, and the world always needs volunteers.”