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Huggins Hospital honors its volunteers

DIRECTOR OF THE VOLUNTEER PROGRAM since 1997 Terri Fraser Hooper (left) is pictured here with long-time volunteers (l-r) Dot Credit, Joanne Salmon, and Pauline and Walter Thumm. Credit has been a Huggins volunteer since 1997 while the Thumms and Salmon have a combined seven and a half years of volunteer work with the hospital. (Heather Terragni photo) (click for larger version)
April 21, 2011
WOLFEBORO — These days a person's free time is valuable and often hard to come by – which is why how we spend our free time can say a lot about us. From fitting in that run to reading the paper to keeping the house clean – it's all important, but in the end largely self-serving. There's no doubt we're are busy, so when we do come across that occasional void in our date books – the few lines left unscheduled – and temptation begs us towards the couch it's a testament to our character when we instead decide to help others.

Last week was National Volunteer Week, but every day here in Wolfeboro, Huggins Hospital is the recipient of numerous volunteered hours of service. In fact, this past year alone from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2010, 34,205.25 hours were logged by some 307 volunteers. These are awe-inspiring figures to other non-profits in the state, said President of Huggins Hospital David Tower at a Huggins reception honoring its volunteers last Thursday, April 14.

Young or old, student or retiree, volunteers at Huggins humbly offer their services in a wide array of areas and keep the hospital running efficiently by performing odd jobs such as greeters, mail sorters, kitchen personnel, adult day program assistants, and patient companions. While at Huggins the volunteers are "friendly and respectful," said Terri Fraser Hooper, Director of the Huggins Hospital volunteer program, of the folks that collectively help save the hospital a lot of money.

Now, red jackets aside, between hors d'oeuvres served by staff, a bountiful buffet, and raffle of 22 gifts donated by the different departments, the volunteers are treated to some well-deserved praise at the hour-and-a-half-long reception.

"We appreciate every single hour and every single thing that's been done on behalf of the hospital," said Tower when addressing the 40 or so volunteers in attendance, "It's always about the people and we would never be as good as we are without you."

In addition to those recognized at the reception, countless other hours are not tracked explained Tower. In addition to Hospital Aid, which sponsors the annual Huggins Hospital Street Fair each August through year-round efforts, the Huggins Hospital Board of Trustees is a part-time job with fulltime responsibilities he joked.

Smaller committees too have been assembled and run by volunteers. The Compass Group comprises a group of community members that have come together to help Huggins in areas where it can be more effective in reaching out to the community with its ideas and endeavors. There's also the Capital Campaign Steering Committee whose volunteers have raised upwards of $4.2 million over the past few years to support the hospital expansion. Each summer many volunteers help coordinate and run the annual golf tournament fundraiser as well.

As proud of her volunteers as any mother would be of a child taking its first steps, Hooper said that while certainly worthwhile, for some, volunteering can be more than just a philanthropic endeavor.

It's a great resume builder and allows for personal growth and experiences as well. Volunteers with any tenor can obtain a list of contacts and references that could benefit them in their professional lives down the line.

One such example is Alton resident Diane Schrider, who in five weeks will graduate with a nursing degree from Lakes Region Community College. Having moved to New Hampshire from Alabama several years ago Schrider decided it was time for a career change. Interested in nursing, but having no prior experience in health care, she began volunteering in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit at Huggins about two years ago, affording her with the "on-the-job" training that no doubt helped her through the grueling nursing courses. Admitting it was a great way to meet people in the field, Schrider said volunteering was also a good way for her to feel connected to the people and the community. Of her time at Huggins Schrider said she hopes to still be able to volunteer after her graduation in May.

Whatever the reason for volunteering at Huggins Hospital it's a great benefit to the community that so many people decide to do so. As said in a letter written by Timothy Pinard, M.D., President of the medical staff at the hospital, "Clearly [the volunteers] are an integral part of the hospital and [their] service does not go unnoticed…"

Awards for 2011 volunteer recognition were earned by:

100 + cumulative hours: Cindy Anthony; Elizabeth Avery; Sally Barnett; Corinna Bergeron; Donna Burns; John Cochrane; Jennifer Crawley; Don Dow; Ron Dunbar; Brenda Falke; Penny Kathan; Stephanie Macsaac; Roxy Martin; Anthony McGee; David Smola; Diane Schrider; Pauline Thumm; Walter Thumm; and Lesley Watson Miller

500 + hours: Angie Gambardello; Anna Lord; Diane Malinick; Doreen Bernier, Margie Rogge; and Fredericka Hayes

1000 + hours: Mo Marsh

1500 + hours: Barbara Leslie; Steve Waterman; and Weldon Dingwell

2000 + hours: Weldon Dingwell; and Marian Formichella

2500 + hours: Tenley Fogg

3500 + hours: Barbara Fraser; and Aldina Pacheco

4000 + hours: Lydia Heyl

4500 + hours: Margot Drinkwater

5000 & 5500 + hours: Dorothy Credit

7500 & 8000 + hours: Jack Drinkwater

Special thanks was given to Colonel Alphonse Lucas and Timothy Brunton, both of whom have accumulated so many hours Hooper has stopped counting.

North Country Environmental
Martin Lord Osman
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