St. Luke’s honors volunteers during National Volunteer Week

Published 10:10 am Friday, April 15, 2011

Gayle Cook, volunteer coordinator, with Ed Daws, volunteer and golf cart driver. (photo submitted)

During National Volunteer Week, April 11 – 16, St. Luke’s Hospital recognized and celebrated the efforts of its 110 volunteers. St. Luke’s Hospital volunteers who share their time and talents to make a difference in the community will be honored with a luncheon.

“It’s easy to overlook the importance of our volunteers because they rarely sing their own praises; yet they change so many lives,” said Gayle Cook, volunteer coordinator. “National Volunteer Week is a way of saying ‘Thank you!’ to the selfless men, women, and young people who embody the American spirit of caring for one another.”

National Volunteer Week began in 1974 when President Nixon signed an executive order establishing the week as an annual celebration of volunteering. Since then, every president has signed a proclamation promoting National Volunteer Week. More than 100 million Americans volunteer each year by giving freely of their time and skills to serve the needs of others in countless ways. Through their efforts, these volunteers build better communities and a stronger nation.

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There are many ways volunteers contribute to St. Luke’s Hospital. Cherry Smock volunteers are responsible for the delivery of juice and daily newspapers to the patients each morning. There are also volunteers who are responsible for delivery of patient mail and flowers each afternoon. Opportunities are also offered for local high school students to volunteer.

There are several departments who rely on volunteer help. Volunteers at the reception desk in the radiology department enjoy a fast-paced day of greeting patients. Volunteers also help out in the pharmacy and with tasks such as filing in the business office, medical records, hyperbaric and wound care center and the foundation.

The WINGS volunteers deliver the mail within the hospital. On the “WINGS” of these special volunteers, all interdepartmental mail is delivered daily. The daily couriers deliver lab results and mail to local physician offices.

St. Luke’s Hospital volunteers can also be found at the reception desk in the hospital’s front lobby. They are responsible for greeting visitors and assisting with patient information, such as directions to patient rooms and other departments within the hospital. Volunteers in the gift shop manage the daily operations of the shop including all merchandise sales and keeping the shelves stocked and tidy. The ambitious group of volunteers in the print shop contributes to the hospital by running the in-house print shop. They print forms, business cards and many of the hospital’s printed materials.

Another volunteer service is the daily golf cart transportation. As visitors arrive, they are greeted by a smiling volunteer and a ride up the hill to the front door. And visitors to the emergency department are greeted by a patient access representative who gives directions and can escort visitors around the hospital.

The St. Luke’s Hospital Thrift Shop, located at 148 N Trade Street in Tryon, is completely managed by volunteers. It is located in downtown Tryon and operates Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Tuesdays the shop is open until 5:30 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Through thrift shop and gift shop sales, as well as individual gifts, the auxiliary has donated more than $2 million to St. Luke’s Hospital for equipment purchases and upgrades.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities at St. Luke’s Hospital, call 828-894-3525 ext. 3350.