Volunteers want more smiles in ranks

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 5, 2016

Collectively, they are a former truck driver, former school teacher, homemakers, former hospital employees, and a chaplain.

“Mostly, we have women, but we’re looking for a few good men to join us,” Wayne Knox said.

Volunteer Wayne Knox serves coffee in the main lobby at ARH.

Volunteer Wayne Knox serves coffee in the main lobby at ARH.

He was speaking of the 15 men and women who volunteer their time at Andalusia Regional Hospital.

“We assist people in finding where they need to be,” he said. “We gather up wheelchairs and return them. We act as greeters. And we visit patient rooms with the hospitality cart each morning.”

Whatever the task, he said, “We hope we put a smile on somebody’s face, and we hope we help them feel better.”

Knox, who is retired from both the National Guard and the Social Security Administration, began volunteering after getting a pacemaker.

“Doctor (Greg) Price said I needed to slow down, so I started volunteering,” he said.

“Slowing down” meant cutting back on his five-day-a-week golf game. Now he volunteers one day each week at ARH, plays golf three days a week, and devotes a day to housework and honey-dos.

“It’s not a job, it’s an adventure,” Knox said of volunteering. “We have about 15 volunteers and we are looking for more.”

Organizers would like to expand the volunteer program to provide hospitality services in the radiology area, and surgical waiting rooms. They also are looking for volunteers willing to work on weekends.

“All you need is an outgoing personality,” Knox said.

Well, that, and enough sense of direction to find one’s way around the hospital.

“I enjoy it,” Knox said. “It’s fun helping people and we hope we actually cheer them up.”

Applications are available at the volunteer desk in the main lobby of ARH, and from the human resources office. Volunteers will be interviewed, have a drug screen, and a background check before joining the ranks.