By ESTHER SMITH
News staff writer
May 4, 2005
Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital recently honored its volunteers and celebrated the 15-year mark of its volunteer program with a special appreciation luncheon at the Hood River Inn. More than 100 of the hospital’s 200-plus regular volunteers were presented pins in recognition of their service; many of whom had served since the beginning of the volunteer program.
The theme of the luncheon was “You are the Wind Beneath My Wings,” and the room was decorated with kites and pinwheels.
Volunteer director Lynn Berens explained that “Pinwheels will sit and do nothing until a breeze comes along — you are the breeze. You blow through the hospital and bring help wherever it’s needed.”
The program was begun in 1990 when the late Tim Simmons, then CEO, as one of his first directives asked community relations director Barbara Young to start up a volunteer program. She and Betty Callan, the first volunteer director, got busy and by the end of the year they had signed on 50 volunteers. Twenty-two of those original volunteers are still active in the program. The entire group was praised for its work ethic, dependability and cheerfulness.
“I’ve worked at a diverse range of hospitals and the volunteers at this hospital are by far the most upbeat and energetic I’ve ever known,” said James Arp, Providence Hood River’s new executive officer. “You are an amazing group. I just can’t say enough about what you do for the lives of our patients and our staff.”
The volunteers contribute in ways too numerous to count: From bake sales and bloodmobiles to tours and thrift shops. Blood pressure clinics, calling committees, dietary, disaster preparedness, fund-raising, handcrafting, pet therapy, scholarships, plant care, special mailings, recruitment, photography, pediatrics, music — the list goes on and on.
After a PowerPoint presentation of a collection of photographs through the years, the special surprise guest was revealed: Betty Callan, the original volunteer director who now lives in Yosemite, Calif.
“I hope I brought enough Kleenex today — I really do,” she said. “You all made me look so good!”
For more information about being a hospital volunteer, call Lynn Berens at 387-6242.