Delta Health honored a host of volunteers on Saturday, April 23, marking 46 years since the program’s founding. The annual event rounded out National Volunteer Week, which was April 17-23 this year.
Hospital administration, the volunteer executive committee and the Delta Health Board of Directors took turns expressing their gratitude for the volunteers’ time and addressed the hospital’s growing need for more volunteers.
The hospital has 31 volunteers, 21 of which are active members of the volunteer program, according to Darnell Place-Wise, Delta Health Foundation’s (DHF) executive director and volunteer liaison.
Volunteers are most needed in the oncology department and the gift shop, Place-Wise noted.
She explained that volunteers used to have two shift options to choose from: a morning or afternoon shift. Without enough volunteers, individuals work longer shifts lasting between six to seven hours.
The hospital hopes to restore the program back to 50 volunteers so enough people can cover the original two shifts from Monday through Friday.
Volunteer Coordinator Wilma Reever attributes the decline in volunteers to the pandemic.
“I think we’ve had a real problem because of COVID,” said Wilmer. “A lot of people have decided they didn’t want to come back under the circumstances.”
Reever was recently designated the program’s coordinator, but she’s been a volunteer for 15 years. She previously served as the program’s treasurer and continues to work in the hospital gift shop.
Proceeds from the gift shop are dedicated to supporting the hospital, she noted.
Volunteers can work in a variety of capacities, according to the volunteer coordinator. Program participants often volunteer as receptionists helping check patients in and out. They might greet people for surgery and help them get comfortable post-surgery, while others work in bookkeeping.
“It’s a little bit of everything, we want people to feel comfortable,” said Reever.
Place-Wise kicked off the recognitions with Connie Stewart, who was awarded her five-year pin for her volunteer service.
Volunteers Shirley Clayton and Joyce Polfer received their 15-year service awards.
Teresa Brown (volunteer committee president), Linda Link (treasurer and banquet organizer), Nola Milts and Judy Shumway were honored for five hundred volunteer hours of service.
Jo Leftwich was honored for 1,000 hours of service.
The hospital recognized Barbara Hall, Rose Dittmer, Evelyn Frazier and Ida Walden as honorary volunteers for life.
Finally, oncology volunteers honored JanaMarie Dugle for her 18 years of service in the hospital’s oncology department. During her time, Dugle served as an officer, has helped with scholarships and helped rewrite bylaws, according to volunteers.
“JanaMarie has kept oncology going for all this time since this started,” Connie Barry, an oncology volunteer remarked. “She has done a lot, she’s been a friend to all of us.”
Dugle is retiring from the oncology department, but has agreed to continue her work with the scholarship program.
Delta Health volunteers are currently recruiting for more volunteers to join their organization.
The hospital is also seeking Jr. Volunteers, students aged 14-17 interested in the healthcare field or who need volunteer hours for their service organizations and/or scholarships.
To apply, contact Darnell Place-Wise by calling 970-399-2610 or email email@example.com