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News Room: ENQUIRER: Volunteers play big role throughout community

To download a pdf of this article, please click here.

By: Amanda Joering and Chris Mayhew

From schools and cities to various companies, volunteers play a big role throughout the community every day.

At St. Elizabeth, more than 1,280 volunteers logged more that 129,300 hours of service to the health care company last year.

“Our volunteers provide a lot of hands-on care and customer service to our patients and visitors,” said Kitty Pilger, St. Elizabeth’s director of volunteer service. “I don’t know what we’d do without them.”

Pilger said the volunteers, who range from teens to senior citizens, contribute to 88 different departments and do everything from working the information desk and visiting patients to being the face of the surgical waiting area.

Volunteers who are part of the hospital’s auxiliary group, which began when the hospital opened, host events and run the gift shop to raise money for much needed equipment and services throughout the hospital, Pilger said.

Each year, Pilger said the volunteers save the hospital around $2 million by providing services that the staff doesn’t have time to do, and they’re happy to do it.

“These are volunteers, so they aren’t here trying to earn money,” Pilger said. “They do it because they want to.”

In honor National Volunteer Week April 21- 27, St. Elizabeth recognized their volunteers with a dinner and small gift.

In the City of Newport, volunteers provide a range of services through organizations like the Newport Ambassador Program and the Recreation Commission.

City Manager Thomas Fromme said the city relies heavily on volunteers to plan and help with events and services throughout the city.

While in some cases volunteers serve as representatives of the city by manning information booths and hosting events, a lot of their work is behind the scenes, Fromme said.

“Our volunteers provide a lot to our residents and visitors,” Fromme said. “They are very valuable to us because they allow us to do things we wouldn’t have the staff to do otherwise.”

In Alexandria, six of the seven members of the first-ever V.I.P.S. (Volunteers In Police Service) in Schools class graduated from training inside police headquarters Wednesday, April 24.

The new volunteer program will put volunteers inside schools to register and track visitors, as well as the comings and goings of students.

Denny Newberry, 62, who lives south of Alexandria, said volunteering to assist schools was especially meaningful to him.

“I think what happened with the school shootings across the whole country has affected everybody,” he said. “And, you know I think we all need to do something, but nobody knows what to do.”

Newberry said he was interested in the idea of volunteering inside a school from the first time he heard about it.

“You know the country is divided on what to do, but I think this is a good place to start with what we’re going to do,” he said.

Newberry, 62, said he will give as much time as he can to the program and more after he retires in a few years.

“I like to try to give back,” Newberry said. “I’ve been blessed in my life through our church and through God’s love, and I want to give back.”

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