Watauga Medical Center volunteer Mary Lee Jones has been a faithful volunteer for twenty years. She is a constant in her role and a real blessing to all who cross her path. Below in her own words, Mary Lee shares what brought her to the WMC volunteer family and what it has meant in her life.
Mary’s volunteer journey
After retiring from Appalachian State University in January 1998, my husband, Ernie and I, began looking for volunteer opportunities in our community. We wanted a way to do something meaningful to help others.
We decided to volunteer at Watauga Medical Center. At first I was asked to volunteer in the [Seby B. Jones Regional] Cancer Center, but I did not feel comfortable there. Instead I began volunteering on the outpatient surgery floor and Ernie in the pharmacy. We both enjoyed the camaraderie we felt with the patients, nurses and doctors.
While my volunteering kept me on the second floor of the hospital, Ernie’s position took him all over and often to the cancer center. He would tell me what a wonderful place it was and how many people were being helped there.
Continuing her husband’s legacy
After Ernie passed away in 2009, I felt a tug at my heart to move to the cancer center in my volunteering. Although I would miss the outpatient surgery staff, I knew I had come full circle and was supposed to be at the cancer center.
What a blessing this has been in my life! The patients are such a blessing to me in every way! I have made many lasting friendships. I look forward to my day of volunteering each week. When a patient passes, I grieve because they have touched my life and I know that I have also touched theirs in a small way.
I feel blessed to be able to serve my community in this way at the age of 82 and hope that I can do it for many more years!!
Volunteers find their way to ARHS for a myriad of reasons. Long time WMC volunteers Elaine & Jim Jones have been volunteering since 2003.
Elaine volunteers in outpatient surgery and shares the following as to how she started in her current role with the volunteer program: “A good friend who was a (WMC) volunteer approached me about becoming a volunteer. I thought about it and decided I would try it. That was in 2003. I work in outpatient surgery and I love it. I was retired and this gives me something I can do for others and keep me active. I have worked with some of the most professional, compassionate and caring nurses. When you walk through the halls of the hospital in your blue jacket, every staff member greets you with a smile and many times they thank you for your service. It makes you feel as if you are a member of this hospital team.” In her work career, Elaine taught Physical Education classes from kindergarten through the graduate level and general science at the high school level. She also served a four year term on the Watauga County Board of Education as the first woman elected to that board.
Jim holds degrees from both Elon College, East Carolina University and took graduate classes at UNC-CH. He was a professor at ASU for forty years in the accounting field. Jim was also a tennis coach and athletics director. So it is no surprise why Jim enjoys his volunteer role. “I have always been an active person and when I retired I needed to continue this” states Jim on why he decided to join the volunteer program at WMC. “Volunteering gave me the chance to have the activity I needed and use this time to help at Watauga Hospital in some small way. I currently work in the Pharmacy and get lots of exercise walking to deliver materials needed all over the hospital.” Jim’s co-workers in the pharmacy truly value his service and consider him to be an important part of their work team.
Both Jim & Elaine have given many hours and years to WMC and are an integral part of the volunteer program.Hats off to this wonderful couple and many thanks for striving to really make a difference in the lives of our patients, staff and families.