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Wanda Butte

A song in her heart

Wanda Butte has always loved to sing. From her days as a preschooler in a small chapel in Church Hill, Tenn., to family gatherings and gospel and bluegrass songfests with her husband, Ernie, she relishes every note.

But it just takes one song, she believes, to truly touch a life.

“Sometimes when I’m talking to patients, and they seem sad or down, I get this feeling that I’m meant to sing.”

“I’ve always liked to clean,” said Wanda, an environmental services technician at Holston Valley Medical Center. “But being around people, that’s what I really like doing. My job is just a way I can meet new people.”

For years, Wanda’s team members and supervisors had no inkling of her hidden talent. Wanda was quiet, hardworking and always did her job well.

One night, though, Wanda sang a favorite gospel tune to a patient who later contacted the hospital. It was then environmental services staff members realized they had a songbird in their midst who had been busy touching lives without recognition or applause.

Wanda takes great pride in her job, and she even convinced her husband to start working by her side at Holston Valley. But Wanda also knows people sometimes needed more than clean floors.

“Sometimes when I’m talking to patients, and they seem sad or down, I get this feeling that I’m meant to sing,” Wanda said. She always asks, and if they agree, she shares a song.

The time she spends cleaning rooms gives Wanda the opportunity to make a connection with patients, and in listening to them, she knows if they’re lonely, hurting or simply needing a gentle spirit.

For those patients, Wanda’s always willing to share her gift of song, without fanfare or a spotlight.

“I’m kind of quiet, and I sometimes get nervous,” Wanda said. “But I always want to get up there and do what God lays on my heart to do.”