It’s 8:00 a.m. on a Monday morning, and the Hospital census is already showing over 100 patients. The cafeteria is bustling with family and staff chatting about the day, the sun glaring through the pane windows. The intercom repeats a familiar message, “I need a 16 to Outpatient Services”. To the unfamiliar, the message means little. But to the members of the Saint Mary’s Volunteer Auxiliary, it is a call to action. The staff in Outpatient Services needs a volunteer with a wheelchair to assist a patient. Messages like this can be heard all day, everyday at Saint Mary’s. Volunteers needed to carry X-rays to a different department, accompany a new mother and her baby to their car, refill the coffee in the surgery waiting room, or to hold the hand of a nervous patient. As guests and patients enter and leave the Hospital, volunteers are often the first and last point of contact. Saint Mary’s is especially proud to honor these valued individuals for their hard work and dedication during this year’s Hospital Volunteer Appreciation Week, April 15- 21. Various Hospital departments will celebrate these volunteers by providing cookies and special treats throughout the week. In addition, those volunteers earning hourly achievement awards will be honored during the annual Volunteer Installation luncheon held in May.

The Saint Mary’s Auxiliary has been serving our community since 1973. In fact, one of the original volunteers, Delphine Zydik, is still giving her time to the Hospital. Every year they make stockings for newborns during Christmas, and spiritually uplifting cards for patients on every holiday. But most importantly, they truly care about the hospital, the community, and the people. “Saint Mary’s volunteers are valued members of our Hospital family,” said CEO Mike McCoy. “They are selfless in giving of their time and talents. It is a pleasure to recognize them during National Hospital Volunteer Week, not only for the selfless giving of their time and talents, but also for their caring and compassion. Truly, We cannot thank them enough.” In 2006, the volunteers did give the hospital a generous amount of their time. The 70-plus members of the hospital auxiliary gave over 24,000 hours last year. Several individuals have set landmarks for hours earned: Ernestine Stewart currently has 15,005 total hours and Daniel Corliss has 11,920 total hours. Not only do they give their time, but they also give scholarships to employees of Saint Mary’s who decided to continue their education in the field of nursing. In 2006, the Auxiliary awarded four $500 scholarships. Earning money from sales in the gift shop and their bi-annual jewelry sale, the scholarships are just another way that our volunteers give to the Hospital and the community. Their work is seen everywhere from the human resources department, community relations, and gift shop, to the individual floors helping ensure patient and guest comfort and convenience. If you would like more information on how you can get involved with this program, please contact Toni Mills, Volunteer Coordinator at 479-968-2841 or submit an application online at saintmarysregional.com.