The Beeville hospital has 32 active volunteers who spend countless hours there performing jobs that help to make the associates’ or paid staffers’ jobs easier. More than 11,000 hours were logged by volunteers and junior volunteers during the last fiscal year.
Volunteer Coordinator Gina Cunningham said the volunteers help save the hospital lots of money because the work they do is not having to be done by a paid associate.
“We don’t treat them like free labor; they are staff support, and that is priceless,” she said.
Ginny Turner is one of the many volunteers who donate time to the hospital.
Turner, who is 86, has been volunteering at the hospital for three years and has no intention of stopping any time soon.
“As long as I can walk and talk, I will keep doing this,” she said.
Turner, along with volunteer Terry Sherman, works on the second floor.
The two women do things to assist the nurses and doctors, including answering the phones, giving directions, helping patients find their lost or dropped television remotes and much more.
“We do things that would take time away from the nurses,” Turner said. “I enjoy it; I like to be with people, and I like to help people.”
In addition to volunteering on the second floor, Turner also makes blankets that she gives to children patients.
Turner and Sherman volunteer on separate days so the patients and associates benefit from their help multiple days a week.
Both women came to be volunteers after being persuaded by family members.
Sherman is a third generation volunteer, and when she moved to Beeville, her mother insisted she become involved with the hospital.
“This is a great place to meet beautiful women who are committed to making a difference,” Sherman said. “It (volunteering) brought me a new respect for the nurses and the CNAs and what they have to deal with.”
Sherman makes it part of her routine when she comes in to go around and ask patients if they need water, and she helps clear off their table so they are ready when their lunch arrives.
Besides the second floor, another place that volunteers can be found (and where Laurie Meynig has found her calling) is in the gift shop.
The gift shop only recently was able to hire a paid associate again; prior to that it was run by a dedicated Meynig along with some other volunteers.
Meynig considers her job in the gift shop a way to give patients hope and put a smile on people’s faces.
She goes out of her way to help people, and assisting them pick balloons for gifts is one of her favorite duties.
Meynig volunteers at the gift shop several days a week, sometimes working split shifts when it is needed.
The gift shop offers more than the average gift shop. It also has a snack bar inside.
Cunningham said the Beeville hospital is the only Spohn hospital that boasts a snack bar.
Meynig is famous for her milkshakes and said the snack bar, which also serves sandwiches and other snacks, is just as much for the hospital staff as for the patients and their families.
The hospital cafeteria is only open for lunch so any other time of the day that people are hungry they have to come to the gift shop snack bar.
Cunningham said the snack bar operates as an independent entity of the hospital and gives back a portion of its profits to the hospital.
The gift shop this year is donating money to the labor and delivery department, and the money will be used to give it a face-lift including new curtains, blankets, couches and wall art.
Additionally, a portion of the gift shop proceeds goes to fund scholarships for the associates.
According to a press release from the hospital, “(The) volunteers have given more than $50,000 back to Christus Spohn Hospital Beeville, some through earnings from the gift shop, others purely through donations from the heart.”
The volunteers truly help to make the hospital what it is for this community.
“The key is compassion,” Cunningham said.
Each time a person comes and volunteers that person has a passion for helping others.
Cunningham said the hospital is always in need of additional volunteers and a six-month commitment with four hours a week is requested.