NOTE: The Statesboro Herald began a five-part series highlighting several local volunteers and their sacrifices last week. This week concludes the series with parts three through five.
Jim and Hilda Dutrow
Hilda Dutrow regularly volunteers in the radiology department at East Georgia Regional Medical Center for the hospital auxiliary. She helps direct patients to the correct rooms and checks on them throughout their visits. Her mannerisms and friendliness make the experience for patients a pleasant one when it otherwise could be confusing.
Dutrow is not, by any means, the only hospital volunteer, but she is an example of those who give willingly of their time to serve others in need. She and her husband, Jim, have been volunteering at the hospital for years, and they consider their time spent there to be “precious.”
“I love being able to help those who are facing surgery or simply need directions around the hospital,” Jim said. “I enjoy helping others and receive a lot of self-satisfaction from it, often getting more out of it than I’ve given.”
The Dutrows also volunteer regularly at their church. As members of Statesboro First United Methodist Church, their duties include teaching, helping with family night events, and traveling on mission trips around the world sponsored by the church each year.
Both have been particularly active in missions for many years. Hilda has worked with the Board of Missions for the United Methodist Church, and Jim has served on numerous national and international mission teams.
Jim has Parkinson’s disease and spinal stenosis, which can be debilitating, but he continues to work through the pain and episodes of shaking. He receives an epidural treatment every eight weeks to help him deal with the stenosis.
Hilda discovered she had cancer several years ago and had to undergo various treatments. Although she is in remission, she is well aware that the cancer could return at any time, so she volunteers whenever possible to help others.
The Dutrows are model volunteers, yet the cost of their service is sometimes enormous.
In their travels, the Dutrows have served in such places as the jungles of South America, the mountains of southern France, Estonia, the Ukraine and Nicaragua.
In March of 1996, Gay’s Hill Baptist Church became the first of several churches across the nation torched by arsonists. The church, located in neighboring Jenkins County, became a focus of national attention after it was burned late one night.
Jim and Hilda stepped forward and offered their time and energy to lead teams of volunteers from across the U.S. and Canada to rebuild the church. The black Baptist church’s rebuilding took many hours of their time each week, for several months.
“I volunteer because I’ve been so blessed in life,” said Hilda. “I just want to give something back.
“The like-mindedness of volunteers is among the best you can find,”
Even while facing their daily health issues, these two volunteers exemplify the devoted nature of those who give of their time. The costs are often high, but they would have it no other way.
The death of her father gave Patricia Goodman the strength to help others. Following her father’s stroke and his subsequent placement in a local nursing home, Goodman saw the excellent work of Hospice Advantage of Statesboro as the workers tended to the last-day needs of her father and family.
Before his death, Goodman’s father received, in her words, “the truly best in care that anyone could ask for.”
She and her family said the best nurses and aides visited her father. It was during that time Goodman felt the urge to become a volunteer hospice aide. She wanted to provide the same kind of quality treatment her father had received.
“I had the time to do it, so I talked with Yevette McCall about the procedures I would need to go through,” Goodman said.
McCall is the volunteer coordinator for Hospice Advantage of Statesboro and is responsible for training all of its volunteers. A tuberculosis test, drug test and screening, and an application form allow one to be considered for the training process.
After her father died, Goodman stepped forward and received the training to become a volunteer aide. She now works four days per week visiting hospice clients in two nursing homes.
“I sit with them, talk with them and help them with whatever they need,” she said. “Sometimes they don’t even know I’m there, but I am fulfilled in just being a presence for them.”
Hospice Advantage of Statesboro has an office on Cail Drive but does not currently have a home for its patients. It receives referrals from area doctors, hospitals and nursing homes and takes hospice care to the patients, wherever they are.
“Hospice Advantage goes to the person,” McCall said. “Some people like to spend their last days at home, and so we oblige them. Others might be in a hospital or nursing home. Aides receive training to deal with any situation. They do it then with love and care.”
Concerning Goodman’s work at Hospice Advantage, McCall said: “She’s one of the most reliable and dedicated volunteers we have. She is always ready to go and do whatever needs to be done, and we’re most grateful to have her on the team.”
Recently, Goodman sat in a nursing home room for hours, holding the hands of an elderly woman who barely spoke a word. The time she spent there, Goodman said, was priceless.
“I cannot think of anything I’d rather be doing than working with hospice,” she said.
Susan Jackson has re-created herself and found her niche through volunteering. She spends between 25–30 hours each week at the Averitt Center for the Arts, mostly working with the Community Theater program.
After retiring, going through a divorce, relocating to Statesboro, then experiencing the pain and suffering of breast cancer and the ensuing treatments, Jackson began volunteering her time to help make life better for others.
“I’ve always liked to entertain,” she said. “When one entertains, it can always take people away, even if for just a few moments, and they can forget all of their troubles and daily challenges. I enjoy helping people relax through another medium or realm.”
The time she spends at the Averitt Center fills the need she has to continue to help people, especially the children involved in their summer theater performances.
“There’s something fulfilling about seeing how your actors and directors respond to what one has done to help the show look fabulous for the audience,” she said. “I do appear occasionally, but I truly love working on the props and helping to design and build the sets.”
This past summer, she helped with “Alice in Wonderland: The Musical,” “The Jungle Book” and “Broadway and Beyond.” Jackson enjoys the camaraderie of working with different people in the show productions.
“We become a family during the process,” she said, “and with each new show, a new family develops. I love what I am doing, for it fills a need in my life.”