Whether they’re cuddling tiny babies, greeting visitors, easing worries of family members or assisting patients as they leave the hospital, Mercy’s nearly 4,000 volunteers across four states are up to the task and donated more than 595,000 hours in the past year.
“In just 12 months, our volunteers have devoted a total of 68 years of time. That is mind-boggling,” said Lynn Britton, Mercy president and CEO, recognizing April as National Volunteer Month. “Our volunteers impact the lives of our patients, their families and our co-workers every single day. I think Mother Teresa said it best, ‘It is not how much you do, but how much love you put into the doing that matters.’ Our volunteers put love into everything they do, never expecting anything in return. They embody the spirit of Mercy.”
Within Mercy Springfield Communities, volunteers gave more than 173,000 hours while performing a variety of tasks. Some, like Sue Doing, have unique credentials. She’s one of six active volunteer nurses at Mercy Hospital Springfield. “I went to nursing school as a second career when I was in my 50s,” she explained. “After four years of full-time work, I needed to spend more time helping my mother and enjoying my grandson. But after I retired, I missed it.”
For Doing, volunteering one day a week was the perfect fit. “I still felt called to be a nurse, and this way I can help with everything from blood sugar checks to spending time with a patient who needs some companionship. I can stay and listen as long as they need me to.”
It’s a similar calling for one of Mercy’s most senior volunteers. Alice Vogt is 95 years old and has racked up nearly 10,000 volunteer hours—400 total days during the past three decades. “I had no idea how many hours I’ve volunteered, but I know I enjoy every minute," she said.
Almost every Friday, Vogt can be found assisting intensive care unit visitors at Mercy Hospital Jefferson in Crystal City, Mo. "Very often, people just need someone to talk to,” said Vogt, who worked in the gift shop until her legs couldn’t take standing for such long periods. “I lend a good ear and try to provide comfort."
Mercy volunteers include teenagers who want experience in the medical field, middle-aged people looking to give back, seniors who want to stay active and people with disabilities learning job skills. Volunteers commit to as little as one hour a month and as much as 40 hours a week. There are a myriad of ways in which volunteers serve.
Giving your time is as simple as calling the nearest Mercy Hospital.