The dictionary describes a volunteer as being a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertakes a task. Memorial Hospital of Carbondale Auxiliary & Volunteers has over 100 members who have done just that for the past 50 years.
The group was honored during a luncheon last Thursday. Hospital Administrator Bart Millstead lauded the group for all they do. “You are all amazing,” he told them. “On behalf of myself and the staff, thank you for being such an important part of our hospital and community.”
Reading from a large paper scroll he had prepared, Millstead said the group began 50 years ago with a mobile candy cart. Over the years money raised by the auxiliary has helped to provide thousands of dollars in renovations at the facility and provided scholarships for local high school students planning to pursue careers in the medical field. They recently donated $150,000 towards the new SIH Cancer Center.
Peggy Henson, Director of Volunteers at the hospital said the group works primarily Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm. “We are also fortunate enough to have a small handful of persons working in the Gift Shop on select weekends,” said Henson. They man the hospital’s gift shop, run errands, deliver flowers, direct visitors and host various fundraisers throughout the year.
Cindy Frenkel, Nursing Administration said the volunteers and auxiliary members add so much to the hospital. “For the number of hours you all put in, to the donations you raise for this hospital, we can’t thank you enough,” said Frenkel.
Ludine Chamness of Murphysboro has been a volunteer at the hospital for 32 years. Her mother, Violet Cecil, was a volunteer before her.
“The people here become like your family,” said Chamness. “I really enjoy being a volunteer.”
Henson said she loves her job. “I get to come to work every day and work with a great group of people,” said Henson.