Superheroes are everywhere today, but the ones on the silver screen are just actors. Real-life superheroes include the volunteers at Alton Memorial Hospital, who were honored at an annual luncheon April 11 at the Best Western Premier in Alton.
“National Volunteer Week (April 13-19) serves as opportunity to celebrate the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers to tackle society’s greatest challenges, to build stronger communities and to be a force that transforms the world,” said Kathleen Turner, AMH volunteer coordinator. “If that doesn’t sound like the job for superheroes, then I don’t know what does.”
About 75 AMH volunteers attended the lunch, which had a superhero theme. Turner announced that volunteers worked almost 16,000 hours at AMH last year. Multiplying that by the average hourly rate, the volunteers saved the hospital almost $400,000.
“We can’t say thank you enough to all of the volunteers,” AMH President Dave Braasch said at the luncheon.
Mary Nickell was honored as the Star Volunteer of the Year. Mary has been an AMH volunteer for 11 years, always willing to help with health fairs, stuffing envelopes and a multitude of other tasks.
“To top it all off, Mary is also in charge of making all of the tray favors for the patients,” Turner said. “She and a fabulous group of ladies work tirelessly to make sure each patient has a cute favor on his or her food tray for each holiday.”
Another special honor went to 82-year-old Carl Draper, who just recently went over 40,000 volunteer hours. That’s an average of 2,000 hours per year in his 20 years helping out with seemingly everything at AMH.
“The best thing about it is getting the chance to work with all of the rest of these volunteers,” Carl said. “They are the best.”
The feeling is mutual.
“Carl spends most of his time in the Emergency Room and helps with everything,” Turner said. “With his church, he provides special care bears for our young patients. And he collects all of the volunteers’ time cards and adds up the hours so all I have to do is put them in my computer.”
Service pins were also given out to volunteers who have reached the following milestones:
100 hours – Susanne Colone, Ellar Duff, Mitzi Erthal, Renee Koprivica, Dee Livengood, Steve Livengood, Donna Reese, Janis Richey and Ron Westbrook.
500 hours – Charla Hazen, John Kline, Sandy Legate, Phil Monzo and Stephanie Mendenhall.
1,000 hours – Nancy Wickenhauser, Donna Richie and Joan Schudel.
2,000 hours – Rose Lammers.
5,000 hours – Ruth Ann Meyer.
Pictured above left: Mary Nickell is honored by volunteer coordinator Kathleen Turner as the AMH Star Volunteer of the Year.
Pictured above right: Kathleen presents Carl Draper with a special honor for Carl surpassing 40,000 volunteer hours at AMH.
Below: Volunteer Dick Propes in his superhero costume along with Irene McLaughlin, left, and Susie Bechtold.