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Roger’s Reason: Finding purpose in volunteering

Roger’s Reason: Finding purpose in volunteering

By Kathryn Hackenholt-Wrenn

From the very beginning, Roger Mashke has always had a knack for interacting with and helping people. Whether it was running a successful television business or working as a volunteer firefighter, leaving a positive impact on another individual has always been his main source of motivation. That’s why when given the opportunity to volunteer for Charles A. Cannon Jr. Memorial Hospital, he knew it was what he wanted to do. Four years later, Mashke is still one of the most dedicated volunteers we have at Cannon Memorial Hospital and Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) as a whole. 

Roger began his career as an employee for his father’s television servicing company, the first ever television company to be opened in western New York. At just sixteen years old, he was taking service calls and learning to fix TVs. From there, he went on to join the army and worked with electronics and in the lab at the Utah base where he was stationed. After his time in the army, he moved to Florida with his wife, Barbara, to continue his work in electronics and sales by opening his very own Radio Shack franchise which he would own for the next thirty years. 

Roger and Barbara met while in high school. After five years together, they tied the knot and began their sixty-year marriage. “She was a red-headed Irish girl. We got along great. We are lucky we never fought,” says Roger. 

Together the couple raised four kids, two boys and two girls. While raising four kids full time, Barbara also worked as a dental assistant. Between the two of them, Roger and Barbara were able to provide themselves and their kids with a comfortable and happy life full of adventures and worthwhile experiences. 

Six years ago though, Roger got the shock of his life. He was told his wife, Barbara, had suffered a stroke and was not expected to live. The providers at Cannon Memorial Hospital assured Roger that they were going to do everything they could to save Barbara’s life, and that is exactly what they did. Not only did they save Barbara’s life, Roger and Barbara enjoyed three more happy years of marriage they never expected they would have. After her severe stroke, Barbara spent three years in long-term care at Life Care Center before she passed.  

After being given the lifesaving care Roger’s wife needed, mixed with his love for interacting with others, volunteering for Cannon was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. 

“I was looking to volunteer and they had been saying they needed one here for about three months. I figured, ‘well, why not,’” says Mashke. 

To this day, you can find Roger volunteering at the Cannon Memorial Hospital gift shop. His volunteer position gives him the ability to continue doing what he loves while making a difference whether it be big or small. 

“I like being involved. I like meeting people. Volunteering gives me some purpose. It gives me a reason to get up in the morning and get my butt going,” says Mashke. 

Want to become an ARHS volunteer? 

Volunteers are valued members of the ARHS patient care team and are always welcome at Cannon Memorial Hospital, Watauga Medical Center and several administrative offices within the healthcare system. Schedules are flexible and there are a variety of work areas available including our pet therapy program (PAWS), our cancer center, human resources, and more. 

Volunteer Requirements

All volunteers must meet the following criteria before they are able to serve: 

  • Minimum age of 14
  • Attend hospital orientation
  • Receive a TB test 
  • Complete a competency test 

Click here for more information.


Volunteer Susie Morgan is retired and ‘refired’ after a career at ASU

Volunteer Susie Morgan is retired and ‘refired’ after a career at ASU

Susie Morgan Hi! My name is Susan (Susie) Morgan and I have been a volunteer in the Gift Shop at the Watauga Medical Center since October of 2016.

I retired from Appalachian State University in 2015 after 20 years in various positions, most recently as Director of Academic Testing. I am a big believer of giving back to the community, so after a year of “stagnation,” I began to look around for local volunteer opportunities. A good friend encouraged me to apply at the WMC Gift Shop and it has been a blessing to me. As my daughter says, “it keeps me off the sofa!” In addition to volunteering at WMC, I serve on the Board of the Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge and on the “Bread of Life” committee at St Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church, which provides home cooked meals to Hospitality House, the local homeless shelter.

I really enjoy my two afternoons a week at the WMC gift shop. The hospital personnel are so friendly and welcoming. Plus, it is fun to run into friends who also volunteer in other departments around the hospital. I look forward to coming “to work” here at Watauga Medical Center and encourage other “retirees” to join me!

Learn more about volunteering with Appalachian Regional Healthcare System >

Barbara Robinson: 12 years of volunteer service

Barbara Robinson: 12 years of volunteer service

Barbara Robinson

Barbara Robinson has been volunteering at WMC since 2006. She currently volunteers in radiation oncology and is a true blessing to anyone she meets. Below in her own words, Barbara shares why she decided to become a volunteer.

I attended Indiana Central College studying elementary education which I utilized as a substitute teacher for two years when our son started school. However, I soon realized that teaching was not my calling as I had always loved the medical field. So I began my seven years at Florida Hospital in Orlando, Fla, obtaining my accredited records tech certification and served in the role of supervisor of medical/legal information release. I then relocated to Radiology Consultants and worked for the next seven years as supervisor of Medicare reimbursement.


When my husband took early retirement, I followed and we began splitting our time between Florida and North Carolina. I knew I wanted to give something back to our new community and keeping my contact in medical records, I started volunteering at Watauga Medical Center. I also volunteer at ASU ushering at the summer arts series, at Watauga Humane Society as a greeter and with SNIPS (spay and neuter in a positive solution). I just enjoy helping people and animals find their way!

Cancer Center Volunteer Dema Spann

Cancer Center Volunteer Dema Spann

Dema Spann has been a wonderful asset to the Seby Jones cancer center since she started volunteering there in 2011. Below in her own words, Dema shares why she decided to volunteer and what it has meant in her life. We are very thankful to have Dema has an outstanding member of the WMC volunteer program.


Dema_Spann_Volunteer I started volunteering at the cancer center about seven years ago. My husband had passed away a year prior to that. He had a lot of health issues and I was with him 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a long time providing his care. When he passed away it left a void and I had a lot of time on my hands. I felt the need to fill that void by doing something useful for someone.


My daughter suggested I try volunteering at the Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center and so I did. Here I am seven years later, still volunteering. It’s been a challenge but gratifying. I have made some lasting friendships here and met some wonderful people from all walks of life.


The majority of the patients have positive attitudes that make it enjoyable to be here to encourage them. I try to have an encouraging word for everyone – bring a smile to each face, a warm blanket to those who need one. I also provide pillows, coffee, juice and snacks.


I am a pretty good listener, and most everyone has a story to tell or needs a shoulder to lean on. I keep telling myself I’m getting too old for this, but God has blessed me with good health and the ability to volunteer. So each week I am back at the same time, same place, and doing the same thing.


I am enjoying the opportunity to be of help to these dear people. I, too, have been in that treatment chair some twenty years ago myself and I know what it meant to have a friendly face to cheer me on.

Fran Greenfield steals the show as a “swing” volunteer at Watauga Medical Center

Fran Greenfield steals the show as a “swing” volunteer at Watauga Medical Center

fran greenfield volunteer Fran and her husband, Dan (a 13,000+-hour volunteer) moved to Boone in 1988 and found many things to keep these retirees busy. They both became members of the ASU Senior Scholars, giving them the opportunity for the lifelong-learning experience. Fran facilitated classes in “Acting,” “Theatre/Stagecraft,” “Jeopardy!” “Are You Smarter Than a 4th Grader?” “Paper Clips … a Holocaust Film Study,” “Broadway Musicals,” and others.

She became involved with the Blue Ridge Community Theater as an actress, a director, and Secretary on their Board of Directors. She was an active member of the Boone Jewish Community (now the Temple of the High Country,) as well as serving as Secretary on their Board of directors, and co-President of their Sisterhood.

She received her Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts from Caldwell Community College in 1999 and her Bachelor’s Degree in English and Theatre from ASU in 2001 at the age of 64, Summa Cum Laude. Fran agreed with Dan that it is important to “give back” for all of the blessings in their lives, and so she decided to become a volunteer at Watauga Medical Center. She is a “swing” volunteer, in that she makes herself available as needed … working in Occupational Health, Radiation/Oncology, Plant Operations, Front Desk Receptionist, the Pharmacy, and knitting caps for the newborns. She also enjoys “entertaining” at the yearly Volunteer’s Luncheon! “There are so many ways to be useful in our beautiful High Country,” says Fran, “being a Volunteer at Watauga Medical Center is both useful and gratifying. I highly recommend it!”

Fran relishes the chance to assist the professionals she encounters at Watauga Medical Center; and she applauds the many dedicated volunteers who selflessly give of their time and energy. “It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of this outstanding group,” says Fran, “and an opportunity like none other. Thank you for that opportunity.”

Learn more about volunteering and apply today >

Volunteer Spotlight: Carol Hinshaw

Volunteer Spotlight: Carol Hinshaw

Watauga Medical Center volunteer Carol Hinshaw is one of the smiling and friendly faces you might see when you visit the hospital’s gift shop. Carol has a great flair for design and keeps the shop looking “ship shape,” as she cheerfully assists customers.

Below Carol shares a little about who she is — and what volunteering brings to her life. Many thanks to Carol for thirteen years of excellent service with ARHS!

WMC Gift Shop I consider myself to be an active person. Working has always been a part of my life and when I look back I have always been involved in something. In 1958, I graduated from Harding High School in Charlotte, NC. I attended Woman’s College (now UNCG) in Greensboro for one year and then King’s College in Charlotte, NC where I earned a degree in Accounting.

After graduation and in the early stages of my career, I married my husband Lee Hinshaw. Lee and I moved to Columbia, SC where we started our family — and I did not work outside the home for 8 years while my children grew up.

In 1983, we moved our family to the High Country and I worked at ASU for 16 years. After retirement, I was looking for something meaningful to do and decided to volunteer at Watauga Medical Center. 

Since 2005, I have volunteered under the guidance of three different volunteer coordinators at the hospital.

If someone were to ask me what I like about volunteering at the hospital I would say that it gives me a chance to meet new people and see old friends. In a small community like this, I run into people all the time that I have not seen in years. I would also say that I really do look forward to the routine of going in to volunteer every week. It gives me a sense of purpose. Serving others is very rewarding, of course.

Winston Churchill once said, “You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.” And Carol has certainly given a lot to Watauga Medical Center.

Learn more about volunteering at ARHS >