Blue-jacketed heroes make a difference every day

If she’s said it once, she’s said it a million times: “You can’t thank a volunteer enough.”

Of course, that doesn’t prevent Becky Boyd from trying.

On April 28, the volunteer manager for Parkwest Medical Center will be at it once again, rolling out the red carpet treatment for 153 active and 21 retired volunteers during the hospital’s annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon. This year’s theme is the “Fabulous Fifties” where volunteers are encouraged to share a story of days remembered or heard.

Perhaps that’s one reason you’ll find 25 to 30 volunteers busy every day at Parkwest performing – without pay – a variety of duties ranging from greeters to critical care waiting room support.

In 2016, Parkwest volunteers contributed a total of 36,418 hours – slightly more than the year before. A large portion of those hours – 9,122 – came in the Surgery Waiting Area where volunteer Katherine Roberts put in 628 hours this year, raising her total volunteer hours to 17,877, the most of any active Parkwest volunteer.

The second-most hours in 2016 – 6,557 – were at the Information Desk where volunteer Dianna Brizzolara trains new volunteers. They are often one of the “first faces” to greet and welcome patients and visitors to Parkwest.

A Volunteer Hours of Service plaque is located at Parkwest honoring those who have volunteered at least 2,500 total hours. New additions to the 2,500-hour club in 2016 were Michele Morreale and Dave Poker.

There are currently 153 active volunteers at Parkwest, said Boyd, adding that there were only 80 when she came aboard ten years ago. Just last year, seven community volunteers began serving on the Patient Advisory Council for Parkwest. There is a lot of talent on the council bringing in great ideas to improve quality, service and safety.

Parkwest volunteers come from all walks of life and help out for a variety of reasons. Most times, the volunteers are retirees searching for a way to stay active after leaving the workforce. Some are looking for a venue to put their time and talents to good use and help their community in the process. Too, more and more stay-at-home moms are volunteering while their children are in school, or when they suddenly find themselves “empty nesters.”