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YRMC volunteers thanked for their time, skills
Like many men, 81-year-old Jerry Scott started volunteering at his wife’s urging.
"I was home doing nothing," he explained.
When Scott retired from the Navy after 23 years, he started a new career as a typesetter in the marketing devices industry for 10 years, followed by another decade in the motel industry.
He and his wife, Eileen, first traveled to Yuma in 1985 from the Seattle area before becoming full-time residents in 2006.
"We were snowbirds many years," he said.
Once retired, he found himself growing restless at home. Eileen worked in the Yuma Regional Medical Center pharmacy as a technician and suggested he volunteer at the hospital. He took her suggestion and offered his services.
That was in 1988, and after almost 25 years, Scott was one of the hospital’s top volunteers last year. With 12,500 lifetime accumulated hours, he had the third-most volunteer hours as of 2012 and was among the volunteers recognized by YRMC at a Feb. 6 awards banquet.
Scott, who will be 82 this month, first drove courtesy carts, but the hot summers drove him inside. He works in the data entry office with Voltrak, the hospital’s volunteer management program.
"I love it. I like working on the computer."
Technology doesn’t scare Scott. He knows that if he runs into trouble, help is but a phone call away.
Most of all, he likes keeping up with the volunteers and their histories. "And then there’s the camaraderie with the volunteers."
"It’s definitely a very important, vital position that he holds," said Elizabeth Hammonds, volunteer services officer.
"We could not be successful in our program without his assistance in keeping track of all the hours and inputting thousands of volunteer entries and files."
She also highlighted his dedication. "He’s an extremely committed and loyal volunteer, and we are fortunate to have him volunteer with us."
Hammonds noted that volunteers like Scott often don’t realize the impact they have on the organization.
"Volunteers are our first impression. People come into contact with them first. (Volunteer) cart drivers pick them up in the parking lot and take them to their destination. It’s the first interaction, and a lot of people are distraught, emotional," she said.
The role of volunteers is to support staff. "Our patients are our priority, the reason we’re here."
Frankly, Hammonds said, the hospital couldn’t run without volunteers. "The hospital staff is busy. Volunteers in the nursing unit have the ability to sit down and visit with the patients for maybe five or 30 minutes.
"The patients feel comfortable sharing their needs with the volunteers. Sometimes they don’t want to bother the nurse. It could be as easy as wanting an extra blanket or water."
In 2012, 602 community members volunteered 82,259 hours (compared with 64,906 in 2011) in more than 55 service areas.
They ranged from high school and college students to retirees and from 15 to 93 years old.
"People assume only seniors (volunteer). Some people are surprised with the diversity," Hammonds noted.
And each generation brings something different. "The older generation is very committed, structured ... The younger folks want to learn and be exposed to different careers."
Volunteering gives students a chance to preview a career. Radiology and nursing are the top fields they’re interested in.
"It’s nice to give them that opportunity. For most, they realize ‘this is what I want to do the rest of my life.’ Some don’t like it and now they know," Hammonds said.
For 15-, 16-year-olds, the volunteer positions might be their first jobs. Some have lost their jobs, and volunteering gives them the opportunity to learn new skills. In the snack bar or coffee and gift shops, for example, they learn the cash register, stocking and to handle money.
In addition, volunteers raised $174,670 for patient care items and $10,000 in scholarships in 2012. Volunteers have raised and donated more than $1.9 million since 2000. They have given 2.6 million hours since the opening of the hospital in 1958.
"(Volunteering is) a good way to give back to the community. The community has given me a lot through the years," Scott said.
He also recommends it as a way for seniors to keep active.
"I encourage it. It’s never too late. Personally, volunteering is one of the greatest things we can do for others. It’s fulfilling. I’ll probably die here," Scott said, with a big smile.
For more information or to volunteer, go to www.YRMC.org and click on the "volunteers" tab.
Among the honored YRMC volunteers:
35 Years of Service
Gloria Godley-Special Projects
Richard Godley-Tower 2
Marie Van Orden-Flower Designer
25 Years of Service
Mitzi Eaton-Volunteer Office
Donna Freridge-Gift Shop
15 Years of Service
Marian French-West Desk
Erma Haywood-Corner Stork Café
Jean Rivers-Cart Driver/Emergency Services
Michael Sphar-Respiratory/Corner Stork Café
Gene Tinseth-Cart Driver
10 Years of Service
Marie Chatham-Corner Stork Café
Leona Daniewicz-Corner Stork Café
Muriel Dupee-East Lobby
Dolly Eide-Surgery Desk
Donald Isaac-Cart Driver
Norma Isaac-Gift Shop
Shirley Maidment-Surgery Desk
Frances Martinez-Gift Shop
5 years of service:
Bill Daniels-East Lobby
Billie Daniels-OR Pre-Admit
Bill Denham-Cart Driver
Armeda Freel-Beverage Cart/Book Cart
Colleen Fry-Medical Staffing
Lela Gee-Gift Shop
Geri Gorsegner-Gift Shop
John Gorsegner-Gift Shop
Irene Guzman-LDRP Desk
Ralph Kruse-Cart Driver
Peter Lechuga– East Lobby, Corner Stork
Francisca Lopez-Emergency Services
Maricruz Montano-Human Resources
Len Nickels-Cart Driver
Dick Ritenour-Cart Driver
Janice Sausman-West Desk
Terry Sausman-Cart Driver
Judy Smith-Corner Stork Café
Jim Weinlader-Print Shop
Wayne Walters-Cart Driver