Whether you go as a patient, or just to visit one, hospitals can be one of the last places anyone wants to find themselves. But if you end up there you're likely to encounter a volunteer. Lovelace Health System honored those Friday who just want to lend a hand.
90-year-old Ginny McElyea was singled out for all her years of service. Every Thursday for more than two decades she has been a volunteer, and says she has no plans of quitting anytime soon.
"As long as I'm able and as long as I can get to the hospital I'll be there. I love it. And it keeps me busy. It makes me feel good and I just look forward to Thursdays when I'm at the hospital,” she said.
McElyea is just one in an army of 400 volunteers. The iron-woman of volunteering has to be Bridgette Ann Vail. She has been showing up for more than 25 years – about 15,000 hours of volunteering - just the reward of knowing she’s helped someone through their toughest of times.
"Try to talk to them and tell them that they will be alright, and then sometimes we pray and that helps, and sometimes they just want someone to hold their hands - put them at ease,” she said.
The patients never fail to mention the volunteers in letters they write to Lovelace. Lovelace Women's Hospital CEO Sheri Milone thinks they make a huge difference for patients and families.
"They do it for the love of being able to meet patients and families. And also knowing that they are doing something important,” she said. “That's really great for a volunteer to know that they are making a difference in a patient’s life.”