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Hospital volunteers honored at appreciation ceremony

April 26, 2008|By JANET HEIM

HAGERSTOWN - They put in more than 41,000 hours of volunteer service at Washington County Hospital, Robinwood Medical Center and the Repeat Performance Thrift Shop, and through fundraising and other community commitments.

With that in mind, Mitch Towe, director of volunteer services for Washington County Health System, was delighted that about 120 volunteers were able to attend the annual Volunteer Appreciation Day, held Monday at Robinwood Medical Center during National Volunteer Week.

Towe said about 330 volunteers make up the Washington County Hospital Auxiliary. Since 1952, more than 5,200 Washington County Hospital Auxiliary members have volunteered more than 3 million hours of service, according to a press release.

James Hamill, president and CEO of the Washington County Health System, gave opening remarks, followed by keynote speaker Becki Weir, community health outreach coordinator at the hospital's Jack and Anna Hershey Education Center.

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Weir spoke about the two-year experience of travel and volunteering that she and her husband enjoyed after his first retirement. She described the joy they found in volunteering for Habitat for Humanity through the RV Caravaners group, with stops to build homes in Kentucky, Alabama and Florida.

Their "life-changing experience" through Habitat propelled them to become VISTA volunteers for nine months. Weir said VISTA is like the domestic Peace Corps.

Weir and Towe thanked the volunteers for the way their gift of time increases the quality of service that the hospital and medical center can provide and how they are ambassadors for the hospital.

At the end of the formal presentations, Auxiliary member Helen Funk, 90, was recognized for 27 years of volunteer service. The day of the event was her last official day as a volunteer. She fought to hold back tears as she said goodbye.

"Thank you for taking time from your busy lives to volunteer with Washington County Hospital," Towe told the auxiliary members. "I appreciate very much all that you do."

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