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Posted January 30, 2009 | comments Leave a comment

Hospital calls for volunteers

Gail Mullikin
Gail Mullikin, a Shenandoah Memorial Hospital volunteer of 17 years, arranges stuffed animals in the hospital's gift shop on Wednesday. The hospital is searching for more volunteers. Rich Cooley/Daily

Wilma Smoot
Wilma Smoot, a Shenandoah Memorial Hospital volunteer, wheels a cartload of flowers inside the hospital on Wednesday. Rich Cooley/Daily

By Sally Voth -- Daily Staff Writer

WOODSTOCK -- Shenandoah Memorial Hospital is looking to expand its personnel -- offering great hours, rewarding work and the chance to meet a variety of new people.

There's only one catch: No paycheck comes with the job.

SMH's auxiliary is putting out a call for volunteers.

"The more folks we get, the more services we can offer," volunteer coordinator Lee Jette said.

There are 116 active volunteers and dozens of "behind-the-scenes" ones as well, he said.

The auxiliary has been around since 1951, Jette said, and has volunteers welcoming people at the hospital's front desk, working in the gift shop and helping in outpatient registration, among other duties.

They also raise money to help patients with medical bills and to provide scholarships for those pursuing medical careers, he said.

Volunteers save SMH money "big time," Jette said. Last year, they contributed 15,162 hours, he said.

"When you can relieve that stress on people who are otherwise doing medical functions, it's a whole lot better," Jette said. "Pushing a cart through the hospital wing with books and stuff would be a great next step to take. There's no limit. If somebody came along with a unique set of capabilities, we certainly wouldn't turn them away."

Strasburg residents Wilma Smoot and Helen Laventure both volunteer at the front desk.

"We deliver the mail, flowers, we take people where they need to go," Smoot said.

Laventure said a friend convinced her she should volunteer at the hospital.

"I [had] just moved here from Northern Virginia, and I was bored to death," she said.

Laventure enjoys meeting and helping people, and encouraged others to volunteer.

"Oh, please do," she said. "We need you. Many people here are getting up in years and have been here for a long time and they're slowly dropping out of the volunteer program. We deal with a lot of lovely people, the people that work here and the people that come in."

After moving to Woodstock from Silver Spring, Md., Gail Mullikin was looking to be part of her new community. She has been volunteering at SMH for about 17 years.

"I love it," said Mullikin, who is the auxiliary vice president and a buyer for the gift shop. "It's very multi-faceted. It makes the hospital so much more warmer when you have people that will smile and greet someone when they come in, and I think that's our main purpose -- to project the friendliness and warmth of the hospital itself."

The main requirement for a volunteer is a desire to help people. "Being able to meet and greet people" is also necessary, Jette said.

"I would like to get probably 150 active people," he said.

Volunteers work four-hour shifts, according to SMH/Valley Health public relations manager Lore Bredeman.

"They're wonderful," she said. "Most of them are just willing to do anything. I don't know really how we would manage without them."

Those interested in volunteering should call 459-1100, ext. 32578, and leave a message, Jette said.

Contact Sally Voth at svoth@nvdaily.com

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