Volunteers play important role at medical center

Sunday, December 9, 2012
LaVerne Skinner, left, and Harold Schnurbusch were recognized Tuesday for their volunteer work at Saint Francis Medical Center during the hospital's Volunteer Award Breakfast. (ADAM VOGLER)

The Christmas season is a wonderful opportunity to thank those many people in our lives who often serve without asking for anything in return.

Saint Francis is blessed with more than 350 hardworking, dedicated volunteers who lovingly give their time and talents to serve the patients and families at Saint Francis Medical Center. Just this week, we selected two to be recognized as Volunteer of the Year: Harold Schnurbusch and LaVerne Skinner.

Usually, just one person receives this prestigious annual award, but this year, one was not enough. These two have logged an impressive number of volunteer hours: More than 10,000 hours since 1993 for LaVerne, and close to 12,500 since 2005 for Harold.

But there is more to these volunteers than just the time they share.

LaVerne is known for her boundless energy and optimism -- traits that enhance her volunteer efforts at Saint Francis. She can most often be found assisting patients and visitors at the information desk, though she also helps out in the registration center and surgery waiting room. Her children know her calendar is always filled, and usually with some type of volunteering. Her active life has led her to every state, and around the world. It also led her to the Saint Francis Auxiliary, where she served as president-elect, president and past president from 2001-2007. At 80 years young, she is inspiring servitude in her four children, 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, as well her many friends.

When his wife of 52 years passed away, Harold sought solace in service. A retired barber and Korean War veteran, Harold found comfort and companionship with the volunteers. He spent a great number of his volunteer hours scanning medical records to microfilm, a tedious task but one of great importance. Along with the other "men of Saint Francis," as the 40-year-old microfilming fraternity came to be known, Harold could be found talking about his passions: cars and the Cardinals. Harold has since moved to other areas of the medical center, frequently manning the registration and information desks and assisting visitors in finding their way around the ever-expanding campus.

Harold and LaVerne are wonderful examples of the culture fostered at Saint Francis. They and hundreds of others like them, live our mission daily with their sincere concern for patients and visitors and the 60,000 hours of service donated each year.

As Saint Francis moves forward our volunteers will be there beside us, as they have been for so many years, giving their time and talents to support the medical center.

Thanks to that support, our employees are able to continue giving the best care to every patient and creating a positive experience for patients' families and friends.

On behalf of the Saint Francis executive team, physicians and 2,600 employees, our heartfelt thanks.

Merry Christmas to our volunteers.

Barbara W. Thompson is the vice president of marketing and referral services at Saint Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau.

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