For 40 years, ladies in pink — and men in red — have been volunteering at Statesboro’s local hospital, doing their parts to make the lives of patients and employees just a little brighter.
Thursday, the Auxiliary of East Georgia Regional Medical Center celebrated its 40th anniversary with a reception in Lily’s Courtyard Café, the hospital’s cafeteria.
Auxiliary president Brenda Steadman recognized long-time volunteers, and announced a $400 donation to a scholarship fund that helps medical students with expenses. The Auxiliary gives an annual donation of $100 to the scholarship, but increased the amount this year in honor of the milestone as well as in memory of the late Newelle Anderson, the first director of volunteer services and founder of the Auxiliary.
“We appreciate our mother’s hard work and dedication to the auxiliary, and appreciate the $400 scholarship donation (in her name,)” said Randy Anderson, who along with his sister Dale Deal attended the reception in their mother’s honor.
The Auxiliary was formed on Jan. 11, 1971, at Bulloch Memorial Hospital, which later became East Georgia Regional Medical Center.
Steadman welcomed visitors and volunteers, who were awarded 40-year pins. She said the group began with 54 volunteers and now has 80 members.
One volunteer, Gladys Hacker, has been with the group since its beginning, she said. Hacker is still volunteering.
The Auxiliary operates the hospital’s gift shop, proceeds from which are donated to area charities and “organizations in need,” she said.
Nancy Finley has been volunteering since 2007, and said she enjoys working with people.
“I used to be a CNA (certified nursing assistant) and I like to be around and help people. I also enjoy working with the nurses.”
There are many areas where volunteers help – the information desk, surgical waiting room, women’s pavilion, patient assessment, emergency room, x-ray and more. Volunteers have specific tasks in each area such as directing visitors, passing out newspapers to patients, and escorting patients to areas in the hospital, she said.
Marty Mellett works in the Women’s Pavilion, and loves visiting and helping women and their newborn babies.
“We visit all the new mothers, give them information on the birth certificates and all the paperwork and forms,” she said. Volunteers let the mothers know about photographs for their babies, and encourage the new mothers “I enjoy seeing all the new babies every week too,” she said.
Mellett has been involved with the Auxiliary for eight years. “I love giving back to the community that I sincerely and dearly love,” she said. The hospital “has a great staff that is warm and caring.”
As visitors walked into the hospital Thursday and asked questions, volunteer Melba Akins was cheerful in her assistance. Volunteering there since 1980, she said “I just had the opportunity to do something different” and decided to start volunteering.
“I enjoy meeting people,” she said. “I get to meet lots of people, and when they ask me what I do, I tell them I just sit at the front desk and tell everybody where to go.” She said she gets a lot of giggles from others over that job description.
Volunteers and visitors enjoyed refreshments while they perused several scrapbooks and photographs documenting the Auxiliary’s 40 years of service.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.