Volunteers play an important role in supporting the services that put the word “care” in healthcare. At Faith Regional Health Services, volunteers assist in numerous ways. From helping patients or their family members find their way around the hospital to working in the hospital’s gift shop and delivering flowers to patient rooms, volunteers add an important dimension to the care provided at Faith Regional. In 2015, 227 volunteers logged over 13,241 hours. This equals to 6 full time employees. These volunteers range in age from 14, the minimum age required to be a volunteer at Faith Regional, to over 90 years old. More than 30 of these volunteers have volunteered at the hospital for 10 or more years.
Judy Rood has been volunteering at Faith Regional for a little more than 2 years. When Rood retired after 34 years in the workforce, many friends encouraged her to volunteer to keep busy. “They said after that first winter, you might get a little bored and even a depressed so I knew I had to get out there.”
Rood started by volunteering at 4 different organizations but eventually cut back to her favorite, volunteering at Faith Regional’s gift shop. “I get to see a lot of people working in the Gift Box. I’ve also met a lot of other volunteers. It’s been awesome to get acquainted with them and make new friends.”
“It’s a very good feeling to give back,” said Rood. “It makes me feel good. It gets me up and going. Seeing everyone’s smiles makes my day.”
Faith Regional also has many high school and college students who volunteer. In fact, students make up a fourth of Faith Regional’s volunteer population.
Alex Sukup is a senior at Norfolk Senior High School and works almost every day at her after-school job. She began volunteering just because she wanted to help others. “I just wanted to volunteer and I knew the hospital had a lot of opportunities. For me, it’s just about people and helping out.”
Because Sukup is very involved in school and job, she volunteers in the Gift Box on Sundays. “What I like best about volunteering is the people. You get to meet a lot of people and help them find gifts for their loved ones.”
What’s next for Sukup? “A lot of people who volunteer at the hospital, plan to go into the medical field but that’s not what I am doing. I plan on majoring in mechanical engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.”
However, Alex’s volunteer hours does qualify her to apply for the volunteer scholarship. Faith Regional Volunteer Services awards scholarships annually to recognize the time given by volunteers. These scholarships provide financial assistance to eligible volunteers to aid them in tuition and related expenses used in the pursuit of a degree at any accredited U.S. higher education institution. Scholarships are awarded in the amounts of $500, $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000. Applicants must volunteer a minimum of 110 hours at Faith Regional Health Services and hours can be rolled over from year to year. In 2015, Faith Regional Volunteer Services awarded $19,500 in scholarships to 13 high school and college students.
Not only do volunteers add to the care provided at Faith Regional through their time and talent, Volunteer Services raises funds to help support the hospital’s mission. All of the proceeds from the hospital’s gift shop are given back to the hospital. In addition, volunteers organize and run various fundraisers throughout the year including jewelry sales, bake sales, book fairs, logo-wear sales and holiday-themed events. In 2015, Volunteer Services purchased a ventilator and angiojet for the hospital, grief books for families experiencing loss, gift cards to the last baby born in 2015 and the first baby born in 2016, and several memorials.