“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Volunteers at Pratt Regional Medical Center seem to agree with Gandhi’s philosophy.

Susan Lynch, volunteer/guest services coordinator for PRMC reported on a “tremendous year” at a luncheon Friday honoring hospital volunteers. They increased their service by almost 2,000 hours over the previous year, and increased membership by 10. Sales at the gift shop during the first quarter of 2016 were up by $2,500, and a one-day luxury sheet sale netted more than $1,700.

Those are numbers you can put on paper, Lynch said, but the real value of the volunteer program is to the patients and their families.

When a person comes to the hospital to be admitted or for a scheduled procedure, a volunteer is the first person they see. They may be nervous, anxious or scared, but the volunteers offer a calming presence.

“You make their lives better,” Lynch said to about three dozen volunteers who were at the luncheon.

Bill Keller, chairman of the Board of Directors, noted that he had been present Friday morning at a convocation for Kelly Estes as Executive in Residence at Pratt Community College. Estes boiled down business success to one word: trust. Trust is important to a John Deere dealership and at least as important in the healthcare industry, Keller said.

“PRMC is a very good healthcare facility. People trust they are going to be taken care of,” he said. “We couldn’t do all we do without you. What you do helps build that trust.”

In a mostly senior citizen crowd, teenager Cambria Fisher was honored for 100 hours of service. The daughter of physical therapy manager Darwin Fisher, she says she’s a “social bug” who enjoys the contact with people. She fits volunteering in with her schedule as a home school student.

She helps direct, or take people where they need to go, and occasionally works in the endoscopy department, doing odd jobs like snapping up the shoulders of patient gowns that come back from the laundry unsnapped, or assembling materials for charts.

JuliaMae Hembree says helping people keeps her going. She worked at the hospital as a nurse aide during the 1960s and ’70s, then went back to school to earn a degree in social work. When she retired from that field in 1999, she started volunteering at the hospital, working several years with the SHICK (Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas) program. With 4,000 hours to her credit, she’s at the front desk, greeting patients and families.

2016 Awards

100 hours

Mary Robinson

RuthAnn Barker

Kim Claycamp

Jeannie Dayton

Cambria Fisher

Marilyn Kennedy

Sandy Nolan

200 hours

Janet Cox

300 hours

Barbara Temaat

Cecil Hankins

Rodney Lesh

Ron Prince

Gary Truhlar

400 hours

Sharon Barrett

Millie Rush

500 hours

Ivan Hilt

Erlene Reece

Beth Rose

600 hours

Floyd Hatfield

Pearl Shank

Kathy Tresner

Maxine Crosley

Silvia Nossaman

700 hours

Donna Swisher

Terri Wojciechowski

800 hours

Geneva Krehbiel

Gin Pelzl

900 hours

Jody Hitz

Karen Smith

1100 hours

Ruby Strong

1200 hours

Mildred Riley

1300 hours

Merle Dodson

Kay Lesh

Lu Sherer

1500 hours

Karen Dodson

Jackie Wright

1900 hours

Ginny Houdyshell

Richard Scott

2000 hours

Jerry Haworth

Alton Unruh

2400 hours

Bonnie Storey

2500 hours

Nancy Kizzire

2700 hours

Margaret Hilt

3000 hours

Dorris Brant

Diana Parsons

4000 hours

JuliaMae Hembree

Phyllis Routon

4500 hours

Carol Jones

5000 hours

Jeanette Gaider

5500 hours

Charles Kizzire