St. Luke’s honors volunteers with awards and recognition

Published 10:00 pm Friday, June 6, 2014

During National Volunteer Week, April 20-26, St. Luke’s Hospital recognized and celebrated the efforts of our 130 volunteers who give “with heart and soul” their time and talents to make a difference in our community! On Wednesday, April 23, the Volunteers were honored with a catered luncheon, door prizes, and certificates for their hours of service, and pins for their years of service. For 2013, these volunteers contributed 20,554.50 hours to make our community hospital a better place for our patients, visitors and staff.
Howard Greene, Polk County’s volunteer extraordinaire, was honored for 20 years of service to St. Luke’s, as a courier between St. Luke’s and physicians’ offices.
Barbara Belthoff was recognized as Volunteer of the Year. A joy to all who work with her, Barbara was also recognized for her 3,500 hours of assistance in several departments in the hospital as well as Dr. Rosenberg’s office and St. Luke’s Hospital Foundation.
The annual event to celebrate National Volunteer Week began with a sincere “thank you from the bottom of my ‘heart” from Auxiliary President Julie Fike, who later received a pin for her 250 hours.
The special awards luncheon ended with a rousing sing along of the 1940s hit song by the Four Aces, “The Gang that Sang Heart of My Heart.”
Volunteer and local thespian John Calure kept the celebration light and entertaining while family physician Shane Stone, MD, spoke on the importance of health prevention and heart health.
He said he knows first-hand the importance of the Volunteers greeting visitors at the front lobby.
When considering places to practice medicine, Dr. Stone stopped by St. Luke’s Hospital one day, met a volunteer who helped put Dr. Stone in touch with Dr. Jim Holleman, medical director, and Sandy Brooks, vice president of nursing. Thanks to the assistance of a friendly volunteer, Dr. Stone moved from Texas and is now seeing patients at Foothills Medical Associates in Columbus.
While volunteering is a healthy way for retirees to stay active and have purpose in life by helping others, we find that St. Luke’s Hospital is the real beneficiary, said Gayle Cook, volunteer coordinator for the hospital. “Our Volunteers contribute every day to provide office assistance, mail delivery, nourishment and reading materials to patients, even a welcomed ride in rain or shine on the courtesy golf cart.”
You’ll find volunteers at the Front desk, in the back Lobby, in the hospital gift shop and many more in the hospital thrift shop.
Some volunteer in radiology and outpatient surgery. There is an ambitious group of volunteers who contribute to St. Luke’s Hospital by running the in-house print shop where they print, fold, stuff and stock many of the hospital’s printed materials.
And there are some dedicated volunteers who drive the golf cart to help patients and visitors from the parking lot to a nearby entrance to the hospital.
Our volunteers are valuable as a collective group as well, contributing annually to fund new equipment and renovations. Funds raised by sales in the thrift and gift shop are used to support St. Luke’s Hospital.
Their financial gifts over the past 60 years have totaled $2.2 million.
It’s easy to overlook the importance of volunteers because they rarely sing their own praises, yet they change so many lives, in quiet and simple ways, Fike said.
“It can be a kind word, a cheery greeting, a chat as they guide a lost visitor through the hallways, even a fun trip in the golf cart, our Volunteers play such an important role at St. Luke’s Hospital.”
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.
“It’s our time to shine a light on the great service Volunteers do to help our staff and patients,” Cook said
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.
“We hope that National Volunteer Week will inspire others to become volunteers,” Cook said. To learn more about volunteer opportunities at St. Luke’s Hospital, please call 828- 894-0895.
St. Luke’s Hospital is a private, not-for-profit community hospital dedicated to providing exceptional care, close to home.

– article submitted
by Kathy Woodham

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