For 80 years, the volunteers of Porter Regional Hospital have had a reputation for going above and beyond for the patients and staff of the hospital. To show how appreciated and valued their dedication and hard work has been, Porter Regional Hospital held their annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon Wednesday afternoon.
Over 80 volunteers traveled to Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton to enjoy an afternoon full of good food, refreshments, and good conversation with friends old and new. The luncheon is just one of many events put on by the hospital during the annual Appreciation Week, which started this past Sunday and continues through Saturday.
“This is just a way for the hospital to say thank you to all of our volunteers who come in and dedicate their time to helping people in the hospital,” said Karin Birchel, Regional Community Programming Coordinator. “It’s kind of our way to give back to them. We really love our volunteers.”
As the luncheon began, guests milled around, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones while a fellow volunteer and local DJ, Andy Petrovich, played music. When lunch was served at noon, the guests were treated to a three course meal prepared by the staff of Sand Creek Country Club, while Chaplain Mike Porter led the group in prayer.
Steve Lunn, CEO of Porter Regional Hospital, was in attendance at the luncheon to show his personal gratitude for everything the volunteers do. As the last course of lunch was served, Lunn made a few remarks thanking everyone for all they do.
“Together, everyone here has volunteered a total of over 237,000 hours of service, which is truly incredible,” Lunn said as he spoke at the podium.
After that, the Volunteer Award Recipients were named. Volunteers who have donated between 100 and 20,000 hours of their time received a red carnation to thank them for the dedication, care, and love they have shown the hospital and its patients.
“It really gives you a sense of fulfillment and a sense of belonging,” said Marianne Dimos, Volunteer Coordinator for Porter Regional Hospital and recipient of a Volunteer Award for her 18,000 hours of service. “Volunteering gives you an opportunity to welcome people into the hospital the same way you would welcome guests into your own home. This is an exercise in good manners and an exercise in giving.”
One volunteer, Mary Ann Gray, worked as a special education teacher before retiring seven years ago. And now for the past seven years she has volunteered for the hospital and has loved every minute of it.
“I work the front desk and I really enjoy all of the people I get to meet,” Gray said. “I enjoy getting out, and like I said, the people are fun. As long as it’s fun, I’ll keep doing it!”
Another volunteer, Doris Anderson, has an incredible 27 years of service under her belt.
“It gives me something to do besides watching television all day,” Anderson said. “I’ve really loved all of the jobs that I’ve had and everything I’ve been able to do for the hospital over the years.
The luncheon was particularly special this year because of one person who has dedicated so much of her time and energy while expecting nothing back.
“We’re honoring Donna Turner today for her 58 years of service she has given the hospital,” Dimos said. “She has worked many services during that time, so we are going to surprise with a gift as a thank you for all she has done.”
Turner was surprised by her two daughters and her two closest friends from college who were in attendance. Turner received a beautiful handmade, wooden clock symbolizing the round-the-clock service she has done for Porter Regional Hospital. It was also a symbol of how important volunteering is in a community and how treasured every single volunteer is. Whether they’ve give one year or 58 years of service, Porter Regional Hospital values and cherishes every single minute.
For more information about Porter Regional Hospital, go to http://www.porterhealth.com/. And if you or someone you know is interested in volunteering, please call 219-983-5197.