To kick off National Volunteer Week, we would like to introduce you to Ann Garner, Virginia’s 2020 RSVP Volunteer of the Year. She has served more than 3,500 hours at Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center and has made an incredible impact in so many ways.
Hear firsthand from Ann about how she got started volunteering and what she enjoys most about it.
I first volunteered at a hospital in Arlington, VA in the children’s ward at age 14 and just loved it! At age 70, after I retired as a high school secretary and attendance coordinator, I realized I needed something to do besides visiting my three grandchildren, daughter and son-in-law in Alabama.
I love helping others. I am a people person and immediately thought of volunteering. I live 20 miles away from Memorial Regional Medical Center, so I called and got an interview scheduled. I then started volunteering there in September 2013 and have never looked backed.
I work two days a week regularly in general services and some other days if help is short. I have substituted at the main desk in the front lobby and at the information desk in MOB 1 over the years. Helping others brings me great pleasure, whether young or older. I am also good at multi-tasking and like doing various duties.
In general services, I deliver newspapers, discharge patients, pick up specimens and take to the lab, deliver flowers, deliver packages and take people for pre-admission testing among many other tasks. I am also the phone dispatcher sometimes in the volunteer office.
When escorting people by pushing their wheelchair to various offices in the hospital complex, I get asked a lot how I walk the long halls and push a wheelchair at the same time.
I respond by saying, “this is the way I get my steps in and I don’t have to pay a fitness club membership fee.”
Everyone always laughs at this and says how true.
A interesting fact about me, I am a six-time survivor of bladder cancer. One time I was pushing an oncology patient out of the hospital. She was saying how she hopes her cancer goes into remission. When I heard the word cancer, I shared that I’m a cancer survivor.
She then turned her head towards me and said, “you’re pushing me down this long hall and you are a cancer survivor?” I said “yes, and I love what I do.”
She then remarked, “If my cancer goes in remission, I want to be a volunteer. How do you go about becoming one?” I was glad to give her some insight and hope.
Outside of volunteering, I love to read and watch sports. When the pandemic is over, I want to go back to taking yoga classes. Also, I am looking forward to visiting my grandchildren in Alabama as I have not seen them for a year.
I would wholeheartedly recommend volunteering to all people who love helping others. The satisfaction you get is amazing! It can also give you an insight into a health care job you might be interested in. For example, if you are interested in becoming a nurse or a doctor, you will see what some of their duties are firsthand.
Learn more about the volunteer opportunities we have at Bon Secours.