LAURINBURG — Though medical providers are the backbone of Scotland Health Care System, those who function as the face of the hospital for patients and visitors aren’t on its payroll.
On Monday, the system recognized some 50 volunteers for their contributions in 2015 — which totaled 23,238 hours, the equivalent of 11 full-time employees or $536,000.
“I wanted to do something with my time, so I decided to volunteer with the hospital,” said Ruby Williamson of Maxton, who retired from Campbell’s Soup last year and traded in long hours in the human resources department to help Scotland Memorial Foundation orchestrate fundraisers and other events.
“I really do enjoy it; I absolutely love working with them.”
Volunteers who offer information, guidance, and sometimes just a receptive ear to hospital visitors go a long way toward fulfilling the hospital’s mission to provide compassionate service, according to system CEO Greg Wood.
“We can’t get people where they need to go if not for volunteers and all the desks you staff, all the phone calls, all the hallway conversations that you have making people feel comfortable and confident and safe and secure,” said Wood.
“The most important thing volunteers do for us, day in and day out, is help people feel that this experience is the right experience for them. They might be scared, they might be lost, they might be wondering what’s next, they might even be wondering how long it’s going to take, and you people are there to either figuratively or literally put your arms around their shoulders and say: it’s going to be okay.”
Nancy McCoy of Laurinburg started volunteering last year, and finds fulfillment in her role manning the patient registration desk.
“I enjoy meeting people and being able to help them on their way to whatever tests they need to go to,” she said. “It gives me a satisfied feeling to help someone.”
James Weeks, who signed on to volunteer at the front desk after the death of his wife, has found a purpose in providing patient room numbers to visitors and checking out discharged patients.
“I’ve been sitting at home all the time and I said I’ve got to get out of this chair and go find me something to do,” he said. “This is where I ended up. I love the work.”
The Scotland Health Care System volunteer board also recognized current volunteers who have contributed more than 2,000 hours of service in their lifetime: Elsie Allred — 2,664, Barbara Broughton — 4,057, Pat Butler — 2,898, Cathy Douglas — 4,085, Mildred Greene — 5,996, John Herring — 3,392, Margaret Herring — 5,038, Alfred Houston — 4,489, Bobby Lowery — 8,410, Nellie McKenzie — 2,342, Margaret McQueen — 3,889, James Oxendine — 3,057, Katie Smith — 4,627, Ruby Spry — 2,233, Barbara Stone — 7,669, Louise Wallace — 2,502, and Joyce Williams — 2,207.
Stone was also recognized as the system’s volunteer of the year by volunteer manager Nancy Rogers.
“She puts in countless hours; there are some nights we are here way after dark and she never complains,” Rogers said. “She just keeps giving and giving. Without Barbara, this department would suffer. She does so many things behind the scenes.”
For information about volunteering with Scotland Health Care System, call 910-291-7314.
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.