The Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital Auxiliary celebrated hospital volunteers at an annual luncheon noting nearly 200,000 hours of service.
“I added up over 190,000 accumulative hours of service that we are recognizing today,” said hospital CEO Paul Hammes. “Absolutely stunning.”
That time was spread among 83 recipients with Juanita Royall (36,000) and June Fowler (12,600) serving the most hours.
Hammes credited the auxiliary board with helping to make the hospital volunteer program a success, including President Joan Swaim who gave a short report.
“The hospital auxiliary has had a very good year with fundraising projects,” said Swaim, “and we were able to use some of these funds to help with the needs in and around the hospital.”
Swaim also gave credit to the gift shop and its buyers.
“They have done a fantastic job,” said Swaim.
Also doing a fantastic job, according to Hammes, was Patricia Wagoner, director of Volunteer Services, and the hospital foundation.
“Who better to work with than people who want to make our community and our hospital a better place,” said Wagoner, “and that is what volunteers do. They do it every day.”
Hospital volunteers make things better by being a comfort when people are worried or frightened.
“Both of [my careers] were in places where nobody really wants to be,” said Wagoner, correlating the hospital to going to court.
“It’s just so much nicer if you’re greeted with a friendly, kind face whether that person can do anything clinically for you,” said Wagoner, “knowing that there is a warm face trying to help you, it just means the world to the patients and to our families that we serve every day.”
“To meet people who are approaching us who are scared, uncertain, uncomfortable,” said Hammes, “and greeting them with a warm inviting smile, welcoming them to your hospital or to your practice [is a calling].”
Hammes’ mother chose to serve a career as a hospital volunteer in the hospital where he was born instead of a traditional career.
“She had something far more important,” said Hammes, “she had her calling and that is volunteering in the hospital and doing what you do every day. She really was my first example and had the hugest impact on me in terms of having an early impression of what it means to give of yourself to serve others.
“We can do a lot of things with our time and with our talent, but the decisions you make are important because they reflect what you value and the fact that you all choose so freely to give of your time, your talent, your natural gifts to Hugh Chatham, to our patients and on behalf of the community tells me everything I need to know about what’s important to you.”
Hammes praised the caring, selfless, community spirit of those in the room.
“I just want you all to know you are the answer to so many prayers to so many individuals,” said Hammes, “who are looking for answers and who need support and you’re there for them. I thank you for that.
“You have answered a calling.”
Individuals who have a calling to volunteer at Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital can call 336-527-7457.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.