Volunteers help hospital run smoothly

Erma Nielsen received recognition, along with the other 142 volunteers at Good Shepherd Medical Center Auxiliary lunch last week. Kelly Sanders, GSMC Human Resources, presented the awards to the volunteers. Karen Hutchinson-Talaski/The Hermiston Herald

More than 143 women and men volunteer at Good Shepherd Medical Center, helping make hospital programs run smoothly.

Volunteers came together at the end of the fiscal year luncheon, put on by the hospital. Cindy Schaan, volunteer coordinator, said those volunteers gave 18,767.5 hours since July 2007 - 361 hours in a work week and $358,646.92 in dollars - the equivalent of nine full-time employees' salaries.

"That's equal to about one-third of our workforce," David Hughes, senior vice president of operations at the hospital, told the nearly 80 people who attended the luncheon. "Although the sheer numbers of you amazes me every year, its how you serve our community that makes me feel blessed and fortunate that you're here with us every day."

Hughes said volunteers are "the face of Good Shepherd."

"Sure, there's a whole bunch of folks walking around in scrubs and neckties, but who's the first person a member of our community is likely to see? It's the smiling face of the gal outside Day Surgery, the person manning the gift shop, the friendly greeter in the ER waiting room. It's the volunteer," he said.

Schaan, with help from Hughes, Kelly Sanders from human resources and public relations spokesman Mark Ettesvold, passed out certificates, thanking each volunteer present for his or her contributions. Those with 250 volunteer hours or more received a $20 gift certificate.

Denise Johnston, 2007-08 hospital auxiliary president, introduced the auxiliary officers for 2008-09: President Kathy Carper, vice president Sherrie Mallon, secretary Ruth Morera - also Area 8 assistant director - treasurer Erma Nielsen, and Area 8 Director Phyllis Rimbey.

Schaan said more volunteers are needed for the Care Van, hospice, junior volunteers and the hospital auxiliary. Volunteers are eligible for the same benefits as employees - with the exception of pay - discounts on Columbia Court Club memberships, hospital pharmacy discounts, and other perks.

For more information, call Schaan at 667-3690.

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