EASTAR Health System’s Auxiliary and Volunteers Continue Tradition of Service


Building on a long tradition of service, the EASTAR Health System Auxiliary continues to have a tremendous impact on the hospital, its patients, visitors and the community. In the past, they’ve provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in nursing scholarships, purchased new electric transportation vehicles to assist patients and visitors to and from the parking lot, and built children’s play centers for waiting rooms and wheelchairs. They helped build and now maintain the Memorial Healing Garden at the entrance of the main campus, dedicated to patients and visitors.

Hospital MascotThe Auxiliary has also sponsored the annual “Let’s Play Hospital” program for approximately 800 first-graders for more than 30 years. The program is designed to alleviate fears of children who would need to come to hospital for surgery. To read more about this and see photos of Well Wabbit, the hospital’s mascot, check out this article in the Muskogee Phoenix.

In 2015, the Auxiliary gave more than 25,000 hours of service, including more than 2,300 from the Junior Volunteers. And they gave more than $45,000 to benefit the community, including the following contributions during the most recent year of service:

  • $9,200 for flu vaccines for Boo on Flu event
  • $5,000 seed money to kick off “We Care, We Share” Employee Assistance fund
  • $8,000 donation for upcoming ICU remodel
  • $3,000 for local Meals on Wheels program
  • $2,000 for Good Shepherd health clinic
  • $4,000 for nursing scholarships

Round-Up event is big success in recruiting hospital volunteers for Saint Mary’s Regional Health System

A unique special event – the Volunteer Round-up – is a fabulously successful volunteer recruitment activity for Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center (Russellville, AR), attracting energetic and enthusiastic volunteers who want to help serve patients and families as well as the community.

A record number of interested community members attended the recent fall round-up with twelve of them completing applications, background checks and drug screens following the luncheon. That’s according to Brenda Harrison, Director of Community Relations and Marketing, who coordinates the annual event. They were clearly ready to get started, she said, even though there were still a few hoops to jump through including reference checks, orientation, and competency training.

WANTEDVolunteers have a variety of duties throughout at Saint Mary’s, which are similar to service performed at most other hospitals, including delivering flowers to patients, answering waiting room phones, and escorting families and visitors throughout the facility. Volunteers also often assist with community events in which the hospital participates, like the Alzheimer’s Walk, the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, and health screenings.

Additionally many volunteers share their unique gifts and talents with those in need. Several volunteers knit and crochet baby caps and blankets to help welcome newborns into the world. Others make lap quilts and hats for cancer patients.

One area that continues to be a challenge for many hospitals is having volunteers who can serve late.

New recruit John Przybys is one of those rare volunteers who stays late to help with evening discharges. “It’s so rewarding,” John said. “I get to see lots of people I know. I get to meet new moms and dads taking their baby home for the first time. And I get to see families who are so excited to see their family members feeling better and able to return home. I’m constantly rewarded with patients and staff saying ‘thank you’. I get far more out of volunteering at Saint Mary’s than I could ever give.”

The fifth annual Volunteer Roundup featured barbecue and potluck dishes contributed by current volunteers. Attendees enjoyed entertainment by Carrie Pelfrey, Nurse Educator, who led the group in “cowboy songs” and ended with a grand finale featuring new words to an old Loretta Lynn song.  Even more importantly, attendees got to meet the outstanding volunteers already serving while learning more about opportunities to become a vital part of this dynamic group.

This event led to the addition of 18 new volunteers to the current 65-strong force. Twelve new volunteers represent an 18% increase of the total number on our register.  That is a 27% increase.