Helping Hands

MARIETTA – “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself,” Ralph Waldo Emerson once said of volunteerism.

That quote hold trues for the nearly 200 volunteers who make a difference every day by helping the patients and visitors at Marietta Memorial Hospital.

“Volunteers are kind of the heart of our hospital,” hospital President Scott Cantley said during Wednesday’s 32nd Volunteers Recognition Dinner at the Lafayette Hotel.

“These volunteers make sure people find their way through the hospital corridors and assist families in the waiting rooms, they work to help everyone feel more at ease,” he said. “And our employees really value the volunteers and consider them part of our team.”

In 2013, the 190 volunteers at Marietta Memorial logged 25,820 hours, serving in a variety of positions throughout the facility.

Among those volunteers was 85-year-old Dean Hoffart who put in more than 500 hours at the hospital parking garage, helping patients out of cars and into wheelchairs, and providing information for visitors.

“I started volunteering in 1998,” Hoffart said. “You can find me on the ‘G’ floor with the wheelchairs by the elevator.”

He wasn’t able to tell how many hours he’s worked.

“It just varies from week to week,” Hoffart said.

Herma Eddy has volunteered for 21 years at Marietta Memorial.

“I help at the front desk and in the outpatient area, about four hours a week, and I really enjoy it,” she said.

Her niece, Melanie Wagner, has only been volunteering for three months now.

“I work in the ’55-plus’ outreach department and like it very much,” she said. “I would encourage everyone to do this-it’s really nice.”

Bev Sheppard is also a relatively new volunteer.

“I’ve been volunteering at the Strecker Cancer Center for about six months,” she said. “But I love it and just enjoy working with people. And the patients and hospital employees are great.”

Anna Vukovic, director of volunteer services at Marietta Memorial, said the facility averages 200 volunteers each year.

“Some will come and some will go, but we usually have close to 200,” she said. “And many of those have served for more than 20 years.”

Vukovic said the volunteers work in 30 different areas of the hospital, and most serve at least four hours each week. But they don’t always get a chance to meet their fellow volunteers.

“This dinner is to recognize these volunteers, but it also lets them see they’re part of a much larger team,” she said.

Vukovic said the hospital can always use new people as former volunteers retire or move on to other endeavors.

“Most work one day a week for about four hours,” she said. “By volunteering they help free up hospital employees to do what they’re trained to do.”

As director Vukovic said she tries to place volunteers in suitable positions.

“It’s like a dating service, we try to match volunteers in places where they’ll feel happy to serve,” she said.