RUMFORD — During Volunteer Week each year, Rumford Hospital honors its volunteers who help in oncology, medical records, human resources and diabetes education. Volunteers also greet patients every weekday morning in the lobby, and patient visitors make sure inpatients’ stays are the best they can be.
Members of the Auxiliary volunteer their time raising money to support the hospital. The newest group of volunteers, honored for the first time this year, is the Caring Stitchers, the people who produce the “comfort covers,” or lap robes that are given to every hospital inpatient.
According to hospital president John Welsh, “Those lap robes have become a real symbol of our caring nature in our community.” Charlene Cooper and Joette Carlton, the two hospital employees who created the concept of the Caring Stitchers, were the main speakers for the annual volunteer luncheon held at Black Mountain of Maine. They outlined the idea of comfort covers and recounted some heart-warming stories of patients and families who were very pleased with their handmade lap robes.
Sue Bartash, a Caring Stitcher, was honored for more than 1,000 volunteer hours of work in creating comfort covers. She has made well over 200 of the lap robes. Martha Hanington, Rejeanne Laverdure and Annette Ross were credited with more than 500 hours each devoted to the comfort cover program.
Barbara Belanger, auxiliary president, was also thanked for more than 500 hours. In addition to coordinating the auxiliary’s fundraising efforts, she represents the hospital on the River Valley Chamber Board, is a patient visitor and serves on the hospital’s Development Committee.
Lauded for 200 or more hours were Carlton; Cooper; Kelly Harvell, who is a patient visitor, lobby host and oncology volunteer; Pat Hopkins, who works in medical records; Martha Judkins of the Caring Stitchers; Trish Rowley, who volunteers in human resources; and Effie Waite, also a Caring Stitcher. All together, more than 40 regular volunteers devoted more than 6,400 hours to volunteer activities in service to the hospital and its patients.
“This is the most volunteer hours we have ever recorded,” said Welsh in his remarks to the volunteers and their hospital staff colleagues who were assembled for the luncheon.