Volunteers give lots of time to hospital

Monday, May 13, 2002

H. Kenneth Wagner is officially retired, yet he reports for work every weekday morning. Norma Sander, Bruxie Norman and Hazel Eaves also sign in for work on a regular basis.

They're not punching a standard 9-to-5 time clock though. All four are longtime and dedicated volunteers at Southeast Missouri Hospital who agree that volunteering is a worthwhile endeavor.

Together, the four -- all members of the hospital's Auxiliary -- have 42,700 hours of cumulative service to patients and families. That translates into more than 21 years of full-time paid employment.

Sander leads the way with 13,133 hours, followed by Eaves with 12,606 hours; Wagner, with 8,731 hours; and Norman, with 8,309 hours.

"Our volunteers, all 400 of them, are great," said Marge Sullivan, director of Volunteer Services at Southeast. "They're dedicated, caring and generous with their time and talents."

Sander has been an auxiliary member for 25 years and continues to build on her hours of service by knitting caps for newborns at Southeast. She also helps create handmade crafts for purchase in the hospital's Wishing Well gift shop and at spring and holiday craft sales. She is a life member of the auxiliary.

"I used to help out when the hospital held its annual flea market," said Sander. "Now I do a lot of arts and crafts. This allows me to do some work at home."

Sander said she would recommend volunteering anywhere there's a need. She also donates time at the Lutheran Home in Cape Girardeau.

Volunteering is a challenge and it's interesting, said Wagner. "A friend asked me back in 1991 if I would lend a hand at the hospital, and I've been doing it since," Wagner said.

Wagner and his wife, Dorothy, are both auxiliary members. He volunteers every weekday morning in Southeast's business office where he has put in more than 8,400 hours of service.

"Volunteering means a lot to me," Wagner said. "I'd recommend it to anyone."

Norman, an auxiliary member at Southeast since 1977, works at the lobby desk, welcoming visitors and giving them directions to locations within the hospital. She also helps out with special events.

"I enjoy what I do," said Norman, who added that she began her volunteer career when a friend asked her to help at the main lobby desk.

"I've filled in a couple of other places, but I really like working the lobby desk," she noted.

Eaves assists families in the surgical, cardiac and intensive-care waiting rooms. She also greets visitors and families at the lobby desk and helps customers select day-brighteners in the gift shop. Eaves can be counted on to assist with special events, in offices and during blood drives.

The Missouri Association of Hospital Auxiliaries named Eaves Auxilian of the Year in 1995. Eaves volunteers 12 to 15 hours a week at Southeast.

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