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.
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