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Longtime volunteers honored for service to hospital center

August 15, 2004|by ALICIA NOTARIANNI

alician@herald-mail.com

Do you think of 80 years old as a time of life when people sit back and take it easy?

Not so for the volunteers at the Western Maryland Hospital Center.

Twelve members of the center's auxiliary who are older than 80 were honored Saturday morning for volunteering their services.

Those honored were Connie Boyers, Pauline Feigley, Millie Fiery, Bea Freitick, Harry Hamby, Larry Hartnett, Ann Hinkle, Irene Hiteshue, Bob Keedy, Frank Keedy, Frank Kovac and Helen Spinnler.

The volunteers received plaques of appreciation during the opening ceremonies of Roads to Recovery, a three-day living history encampment set up at the center. Local dignitaries, including Hagerstown Mayor William M. Breichner, City Council members Lewis Metzner, Carol Moller and N. Linn Hendershot, Washington County Commissioner William J. Wivell and Del. Christopher B. Shank, were present for the event.

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Fiery, 90, of Hagerstown, an honoree at the ceremony, said she started volunteering at the hospital in 1957 when it opened. Since then, she has logged more than 40,000 hours of volunteer service. She has organized a ceramics program, transported outpatients to and from appointments, taken residents shopping, worked in the hospital's therapeutic gardens and delivered hospital mail.

"I'm just a jack-of-all-trades, master of none," Fiery said. "I do anything I can help with."

Fiery said when her daughter left home for college, she found herself with a lot of time on her hands. Fiery lives near the hospital and began volunteering on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, a schedule she continues to maintain.

"Sometimes I'm here more than that," Fiery said.

Fiery said she has stayed on volunteering at the hospital for so long because she believes in what the hospital and its programs do for patients and families.

Though the hospital auxiliary just finished honoring a sizable group of 80-and-older volunteers, it has another on the way.

Hugh Brandenburg of Hagerstown is a longtime volunteer at the center who didn't quite make the 80-year mark - he said he has seven months to go before he turns 80. He has been volunteering nearly every day for 24 years.

Lorraine Smith, 74, of Hagerstown, said she has volunteered more than 15,000 hours, visiting patients and taking them where they want to go at least twice a week.

"I tell (patients), 'I do it because I love ya, and maybe one day you might be pushing me around,'" Smith said.

Hendershot, director of communications at the center, said the second annual living history encampment and events were established to raise public awareness of the programs and services available at the hospital. He said the historical theme was a good match for the hospital, as it highlights the improvements that have come about in the medical profession between the Civil War and the present.

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