Volunteer Services celebrates 75th anniversary

April 16, 2019  //  FOUND IN: News

L-R: Associate Hospital Director Maria A. Ceo, award winners Dona Venne, Polly Connor and Madison Mervis, and Community Health Services Director Alfreda Rooks.

On Monday, April 8, volunteers from across the health care system came together to celebrate their work and the 75th anniversary of Michigan Medicine’s Volunteer Services Department. Every active volunteer who served in 2018 and early 2019 was invited to the annual event held during National Volunteer Week.

Community members began serving at Michigan Medicine in the early 1940s, growing from an initial nine volunteers to nearly 75 in the first year.

In those early days, volunteer roles included reading to patients, letter writing, running errands, food tray delivery and distributing books.

Volunteer Fredda Clisham celebrates her 100th birthday during event.

Today, volunteers serve in more than 3,000 roles each year. Volunteers comfort isolated, end-of-life patients, share their patient and caregiver stories, mentor others through difficult health care journeys, conduct research, run “wild” card games for the senior center, deliver meals to those at home, keep equipment stocked and clean and guide patients to appointments.

“It’s incredible to think about the scope of our department now,” said Loulie Meynard, director of Volunteer Services. “We have volunteers giving their time to nearly every program and unit in the health system. We thank each and every one of our volunteers for the incredible work they do. They bring help and hope to our patients and their loved ones in ways that are truly invaluable.”

As part of the celebration, Distinguished Service Awards were handed out. Polly Connor and Dona Venne won community awards, while Madison Mervis won a student award.