National Volunteer week falls in April of each year and provides an opportunity for organizations around the country to celebrate the impact of their selfless and inspirational volunteers. At Sheridan Memorial Hospital, our volunteers are the heart of our organization. Every service given to our hospital is another chance to provide excellent patient-centered care to everyone in our community.

At SMH, we are lucky enough to work alongside unique, talented and genuine volunteers who serve as irreplaceable resources to our organization. We are gifted with a group of individuals dedicated to this organization and the health and wellness of our entire community. Our volunteers make an effort to create an environment of comfort and cultivate a culture of kindness in everything that they do, and it wouldn’t be possible without them.

Our volunteers are part of our culture, our patient experience, our family. Their friendly greetings and genuine smiles, kind hearts and overwhelming support to all those they encounter are what complete the heart of Sheridan Memorial Hospital. This last year has taught us how truly invaluable our volunteers are. It was challenging to ask them to stay home and selfishly not by our side to support our patients and staff, but the overall health and safety of our family is our No. 1 priority.

Looking back, it is humbling to think that even when not in our presence, though, in true fashion of our SMH volunteers, they met the pandemic like much of our community with heart and continued to help us support our patients and neighbors. They sewed masks, brought in PPE and other provisions, donated to COVID care funds, dropped off treats for our staff, but most importantly, they stayed home and helped us stop the spread.

Our hospital volunteers wanted to be out there doing all they could, but what they did was much more significant and likely more challenging for such an active and social group. Our SMH volunteers stayed home, they masked up and they distanced themselves to yet again support our staff in some of the most selfless of ways.

A year later, we look forward to what lies ahead. We look forward to gradually opening back up our volunteer program areas and welcoming back nearly 100 volunteers who serve our community at Sheridan Memorial Hospital. SMH can’t wait to see the smiles in their eyes, hear their laughs and feel their warm presence in the hallways of our hospital. The staff is waiting patiently for your triumphant return, but know that all you did while away means just as much to all of us.

Thank you for every book you’ve donated to our newborn babies. We appreciate all of the shelves you’ve stocked with trendy and unique inventory in our Kozy Korner Gift Shop, so we are well dressed or decorated. We are grateful for all the blood drives you continue to coordinate, so we ensure our blood supplies are stocked and replenished when Sheridan Memorial Hospital patients and neighbors need it.

We are thankful for every tiny patient you comforted with your scrubby bears before and after surgery, every 5-year-old you have celebrated in the last 61 years (including over 150 children at this year’s drive-by event) and every time you guided us to our next appointment or relocated office on our hospital’s growing campus.

Our team can’t even begin to count how many people you’ve gifted a piece of home with the thousands of newspapers you’ve delivered, the cards you’ve sold visitors to leave our patients a kind note, or the sweet tooth you cured with our favorite candy bar in the late afternoons.

Thank you for joining us for the virtual zoom meetings and phone calls, being present, for sharing your thoughts and ideas, and for all the events you have attended because you, too, believe in medical excellence — right here at home.

It’s impossible to measure how many times you’ve warmed our hearts and hallways, the number of people who have been positively affected by your generosity, and it’s incomprehensible where Sheridan Memorial Hospital would be without you.

Jasmine Slater is Sheridan Memorial Hospital volunteer and development coordinator. 

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