Rainy day, clouds don’t dampen Gerber Memorial celebration of its volunteers at Fremont Lake picnic
FREMONT – A stormy Wednesday morning and grey clouds didn’t dampen the festive mood at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial’s volunteer picnic, a celebration of thanks for the volunteers who help in just about every corner of the hospital.
Currently more than 190 volunteers, recognizable in their purple coats, staff everything from the valet service at the front door to the Gift Shop located on the way to the Sullivan Street cafeteria to roving ambassadors who deliver beverages and help make patients and visitors more comfortable at the hospital.
Ruth Rottier, who’s been volunteering since December 2017, said volunteering is both a way to help locally and to enjoy the company of others at the same time.
A Fremont resident, Rottier volunteers in the Gift Shop every other week. She said she decided to become a volunteer when others encouraged her to do so.
“I like to promote the special. I sell a lot of stuff. And I get to talk to a lot of people,” said Rottier, who used to run a concession trailer and went to horse shows twice a month, in places like Midland and Big Rapids.
The picnic kicked off with Gerber Memorial Chief Operating Officer Shelly Johnson welcoming the volunteers and introducing new Volunteer Coordinator Amy Grunow and new Gift Shop Coordinator Barb Pearo.
Grunow said: “On behalf of Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial, I want to thank all our volunteers for giving their time, energy and talents to serving our patients and our community. They’re a huge reason we can continue to provide quality care to the families we serve. They’re always smiling and helpful, and a real example of what it means to contribute to our community.”
That message was reflected in Gerber Memorial Chaplain Ed Arndt’s prayer.
“Thank you to all these folks who show caring for their fellow mankind by volunteering,” Arndt said.
For many of the volunteers, time at Gerber Memorial meant caring for patients – and also having some fun.
“I’m all about helping others and giving back to the community,” said Nevonda Lankhorst of Fremont, who has volunteered at Gerber Memorial for 25 years. “The camaraderie is very good. It’s only a few hours a day, you get out of the house and it’s a fun thing to do.”
Lankhorst, who volunteers one week at the Gift Shop and a week at the adjoining Coffee Shop, and Rottier strongly encouraged visitors to stop by the Gift Shop, which generates revenue for critical hospital equipment, such as a new MedNow telehealth cart. The Gift Shop is located on the first floor on the way to the North Elevator that takes patients and visitors to surgery on the second floor.
Lankhorst and Rottier also encouraged others in the community to volunteer at Gerber Memorial for a fulfilling and rewarding experience.
Lankhorst said: “I love all these volunteers. Even the men. It’s fun, and I can’t imagine not volunteering at Gerber Memorial.”
TO VOLUNTEER AT SPECTRUM HEALTH GERBER MEMORIAL: Contact Amy Grunow, Gerber Memorial volunteer coordinator, at 231.924.1350 or email her firstname.lastname@example.org. Online:
https://www.spectrumhealth.org/volunteer, and go to Gerber Memorial in the lower right-hand box.
Ruth Rottier says volunteering is a rewarding experience that allows her to give back to the community. She enjoys the picnic spread, featuring food from the Sullivan Street Café and dishes brought by volunteers, with Al Smalligan and Norm Weaver, whose wives Nancy Smalligan and Marilyn Weaver are volunteers at Gerber Memorial.
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