July 6, 2017 | Plenty of smiles and more than a few tears were on display as more than 100 UAMS volunteers and their families gathered in the Hospital Lobby Gallery on June 29 to be recognized for their hard work.
“We truly do value you and we appreciate you,” said Trenda Ray, Ph.D., A.P.R.N., associate vice chancellor for patients and families. “Today is for you.”
From May 2016 to May 2017, 497 volunteers provided 65,227 and a half hours across 63 different programs, which translates to more than $1.5 million in services for UAMS, Ray said.
The UAMS Medical Center Auxiliary has created $100,000 in grants for the hospital in the past year, Ray said, enabling initiatives such as flu shots for patients in the neonatal intensive care unit and new televisions in the Emergency Department waiting room.
“This is always my favorite day each year, because I get to see so many of you together,” said Erin Gray, director of volunteer services and the auxiliary. “You guys are all my heroes because you come here every day and serve,” she said.
North Little Rock police officer Tommy Norman, known for his compassionate community policing, was the keynote speaker. Gray met with Officer Norman in November, when he made a pet therapy visit possible for an elderly patient who missed his dog.
“Your legacy should be to put others first, and obviously that’s what you all do here as volunteers at UAMS,” Norman said. “Thank you for what you do.”
Norman spoke about his life and his passion for helping others, and encouraged those in attendance to be committed to compassionate volunteerism.
“What you do for UAMS is absolutely huge,” Norman said. “I encourage you not to be identified by the uniforms that you wear, or whatever you do in your professional life, but to be identified by your heart – to be identified by what you do here at UAMS.”
“Keep loving people, keep caring for people, and keep changing the world,” Norman said.
Three awards were given at the luncheon. The honorees were as follows:
- Theresa Overholt, UAMS Medical Center Volunteer Supervisor of the Year
- Pat Lavender, UAMS Medical Center Distinguished Service Award
- Paula Jovanovic, UAMS Medical Center Connie Ratcliff Volunteer of the Year
Barbie Brunner, director of patient- and family-centered care, encouraged volunteers to take the next step and join the auxiliary.
“So many of you have come into our lives as volunteers, but so many of you have also come as patients and or family members,” Brunner said. “We honor the fact that you come with a great heart, and you come with a heart of service, and we thank you for that.”