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Service with a smile

Locals dedicate time to service of others at EGRMC

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They staff the gift shop. They tell you how to find a friend’s room. They keep you abreast of your loved one’s progress during surgery. They care. They are the volunteers of the East Georgia Regional Medical Center Auxiliary.
    These hard-working volunteers were honored for their dedication and efforts at a Volunteer Awards Banquet held at RJ’s Seafood & Steaks on Feb. 22. Their light-hearted conversation was punctuated with serious comments about continually improving the quality of care for the community. They don’t just talk about it; they’re doing something about it.
    Gladys Hacker, one of the volunteers recognized at the banquet, has logged over 13,000 hours during her volunteer career. Since starting out on the juice cart at the old hospital, she has performed various services over the years. Now, she staffs the information desk.
    Hacker said, “I get to meet good people, and I think I help a little bit. I hope I can offer a little bit of encouragement to someone.”
    After the loss of her husband, she and daughters Brenda and Janice moved to Statesboro from Cincinnati, Ohio, to be near family. Following her move in 1971, she began her volunteer career in Oct. 1972. Brenda now lives in Atlanta, and Janice lives in Philadelphia, Pa.
    Hacker also said that her volunteer work gets her out of the house and takes her mind off her worries.
    East Georgia Regional Medical Center CEO Robert “Bob” Bigley said "Service to others is one of the greatest sources of happiness. Our volunteers here at the hospital are giving of themselves each day to a worthwhile cause, the health and well being of our community."
    The medical center and community benefit from the savings in personnel costs. The cost to replace them with paid employees would add to the burden of rising health care costs.
    Manager of Volunteers Darell Waters said, “During the year, 61 volunteers contributed 16,587.25 hours in service to the medical center. Using the $12.19 per hour average for this area, the monetary value of that service is $202,198.58.”
    In addition to their time, auxiliary volunteers contribute proceeds from the gift shop and the general fund to various projects in the community. They sponsor scholarships at Georgia Southern University and Ogeechee Technical College. In the past, they have furnished a room at Ogeechee Area Hospice, sponsored Habitat House #20 and contributed to Prevent Child Abuse.
    Some members make volunteering a family affair. One of the couples is Jerry and Betty Thomas. Jerry helps out with the technical side, while Betty works in Day Surgery. Betty, who has logged 5,000 hours, works on Mondays and Thursdays from 5:45 a.m. until the last family is gone, usually about 4 or 4:30 p.m.
    Betty said, “I am an RN, so I have seen both sides. I never leave until all the family members are gone.”
    The Auxiliary welcomes volunteers to their ranks. Annie Ruth Cartee was recognized as the newest volunteer. Cartee plans to work in the gift shop. If you would like to find out more about volunteer opportunities, call Darell Waters at (912) 486-1575.

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