Volunteers are at the heart of what we do at Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH). Here are experiences from two of our volunteer unit leaders who make a difference in the lives of the hospital’s patients and staff.
When Deborah Konig became an AVH volunteer about three years ago, she was drawn to Sally’s Gift Shop. “I was in retail for part of my professional life, so this was a natural fit for me,” said Konig, who is now Unit Leader of the shop’s volunteers.
True to form, she goes out of her way to help visitors select gifts for patients. Occasionally, she also receives phone calls from people who are out of town and want to send a gift. In those situations, she will take photos of several items — the shop has an array of cards, balloons, toys, books, candles, seasonal items and more — that might be appropriate. Then, she will send the photos to the customer, handle the sale remotely and make sure the purchased items are delivered to the patient’s room.
“What I like about volunteering in the gift shop is that you’re helping out and putting a smile on someone’s face,” Konig said. “Plus, it’s a pretty easy job; the only qualifications are that you be kind and cheerful.”
‘It’s a good feeling’
Kindness and cheerfulness are also required for the good work done by volunteers in AVH’s Emergency Department. The environment there, according to Unit Leader Linda Waag, is greatly varied and often fast-paced.
“You get a little bit of everything, and it’s never boring,” Waag said. “Some days when I get home, I’m just flat-out tired. But I know that I’ve done a good day’s work of helping out, that I’ve made a difference in someone’s life and done something worthwhile. It’s a good feeling.”
That may explain why Linda has been a volunteer in the Emergency Department for 20 years. When she started, volunteers were more directly involved with patient care: helping to lift patients off gurneys, cutting boots off injured skiers and assisting with suturing. While that has changed, volunteers still have plenty to do.
“We bring a lot of comfort and love to our patients,” Waag said. “Some of our patients are frightened or don’t have a friend or family member with them. Volunteers can sit and reassure them in a way that our doctors and nurses may not have time to do. That warm blanket and smiling face can be very comforting.”
AVH is currently seeking volunteers for the gift shop and important clinical areas such as the Emergency Department and Same Day Surgery. To learn about these and other exciting volunteer opportunities, please call 970.544.1296 or visit aspenhospital.org/volunteer to download a volunteer application.