By Marianne Boerigter
Photo by Faune Benson Schuitema
It was Volunteer Appreciation night at the Dogwood Center on Thursday, August 15. Dogwood volunteers provide countless hours of service that help make the Dogwood Center the strong cultural resources that it is. Over the past year, over 35 community members from all of our communities in Newaygo County helped with fundraising, ticket sales, technical needs, ushers and greeters, and all the components necessary for providing such a wonderful venue.
Dogwood volunteers were treated to complimentary tickets to the ragtime pianist Bob Milne concert as a special thank you for their help over the past year. That evening, Dogwood Board of Directors stepped into the volunteer roles of box office personnel, ushers and greeters.
The Don Heaven Volunteer of the Year Award is given annually to the volunteer whose service, dedication, and commitment embodies the Dogwood Center’s spirit. This award is dedicated to Don Heaven. Since the inception of the Dogwood Center, Don has worked tirelessly to make it not only a reality but also an excellent asset to Newaygo County. Over the past years, the Don Heaven Volunteer of the Year Award has been awarded to: Georgia Paxton, Irene Baker, Henrietta Van Meekeren, Marcia Eib, Julie Vanderboegh, Sandy Saliers, Shirley Hooker, Tom Shoecraft, Maxine McBride, Sandy Cruzan, Nevonda Lankhorst, and Dwight Austin. The 2019 Don Heaven Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Rob Johnston.
The Dogwood Center appreciate all of the time and extra effort Rob puts in to make the Dogwood experience special for everyone who walks in the door. He has been volunteering at the Dogwood for almost 7 years and works at any volunteer position that needs to be filled. Rob is a lover of the arts and that is why he volunteers at the Dogwood Center.
Rob has been retired from his position as Caretaker of Camp Echo since 2012, after 33 years on the job. At camp he was a mentor to many, hero to all, and is stilled called upon for advice and helpful hints by those who work at and enjoy camp. He is an amazing handyman and can fix anything. He has many hobbies including guitar, whittling, stained glass, mosaic, gardening, bee-keeping and underwater photography.
The Dogwood Center staff and Board of Directors appreciate and thank all of the wonderful Dogwood volunteers for all that they do! For information on how you can volunteer at the Dogwood Center, phone 231.924.8885. The Dogwood Center is located one mile east of downtown Fremont.
Gerber Memorial staff tests skills, preparedness with safety drill
FREMONT– With the goal of helping medical and emergency professionals prepare for a potential mass casualty situation, Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial partnered with PRIDE of Newaygo County on July 30 in a community-wide exercise.
“Based in a large agricultural community and surrounded by many large industrial plants that work with all types of chemicals, our medical professionals prepared for a worst-case scenario at a local manufacturing facility. While there has not been an incident of this magnitude, the potential exists and our community should know that Spectrum Health is ready,” said Amanda Lutz, MPH, emergency preparedness specialist at Gerber Memorial.
Registration staff, emergency department, facilities, security, hospital supervision, Hospital Emergency Response Team (HERT) and emergency preparedness staff all prepared for a worst-case scenario at a local manufacturing facility.
In this fictional simulation, a forklift driver punctured a crate containing an unknown chemical substance. Students who volunteered to act as casualties on Tuesday were assigned a “victim role,” health status and even injury props, to help bring the scenario to life. They then went through the process of being transported via ambulance and treated at the hospital.
“In real life, a hospital must be trained to handle a mass casualty while also dealing with other civilians who may need to be treated for day-to-day injuries. So, several students were assigned to play the role of patients who were injured outside of the mass casualty incident as well,” Lutz said.
Preparation is a critical part of being able to effectively handle a mass casualty incident, Lutz said, adding that exercising different scenarios helps Gerber Memorial prepare for a potential incident – natural or human-caused – that may impact the hospital or community.
Not only did the drill provide the Emergency Department with an added component to a mass casualty incident but it allowed Gerber Memorial to engage its H.E.R.T. These team members are trained to protect the hospital, patients and their families, and employees in the event of a disaster in the community. Made up of Gerber Memorial staff who receive additional training, HERT team members respond to threats from chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive materials. The HERT team operates an emergency treatment area as hospital first receivers.
By Lutz’s estimate, the exercise went well.
All participating staff communicated effectively and adjusted to gaps that came up, she noted.
“We purposefully chose this scenario and went into the exercise knowing we were going to identify some gaps and areas for improvement and we did just that,” she said. “It’s best to work through and identify these areas for improvement during an exercise rather than in a real-life incident. There is always potential for improvement.”
As an accredited facility, Gerber Memorial is also required to complete exercises that test its emergency department on patient surge. Lutz said Gerber Memorial does more than what its accreditation requires so it can better serve the community.
Exercise simulates injuries from chemical exposure; local volunteers play patients
Volunteer coordinator looks to increase recruitment efforts
Fremont– Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial has hired Susan Seaben as its new volunteer services coordinator.
A Fremont native, Seaben was employed with Spectrum Health Medical Group for eight years, where she has held positions as a coder associate, revenue integrity supervisor and site billing and coding specialist. Her career has come full circle where she began her career serving Gerber Memorial as a patient account representative for six years.
“As a resident of Newaygo County, I am looking forward to establishing meaningful relationships with each of our volunteers,” Seaben said. “I am excited to better understand the needs of the community and the needs of the hospital, I am confident that my passion for customer service will help us increase recruitment efforts and retain needed volunteers.”
In her new role, Seaben will also be an integral part of The Gift Shop and the Hospital Auxiliary Guild.
“I would like to draw attention to The Gift Shop and uncover ways to market this hidden treasure to the community,” she said. “We have a wide variety of items and such a unique space to promote and believe we can host events to attract the public here.”
As volunteer services coordinator, Seaben will oversee all volunteer activities, including administrative support, customer service, The Gift Shop, Hospital Auxiliary Guild, special events assistance and merchandising. Gerber Memorial currently has more than 45 volunteers.
Seaben is also responsible for developing and monitoring program budgets, goals and objectives, and policies and procedures.
Her office is located near the administration wing of the hospital. Anyone interested in volunteering at Gerber Memorial is encouraged to contact Seaben at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 231.924.1350.
From our friends at Muskegon River Clean-up Company LLC:
Thanks for helping us make the 8th annual Muskegon River Cleanup a big success again this year. Our 356 volunteers removed 3026 beverage containers, 3 tires, 14 pairs of sunglasses, 76 flip flops from the river. They also removed over 25 glass bottles, approximately 450 pounds of wood, 80 pounds of steel, a tricycle and approximately 350 pounds general trash.
The strangest find this year was a toilet seat and we don’t know the story on that. Thanks to everyone that helped from the ground crew to all of us unfortunate ones that had to float down this beautiful river and clean up the trash.
Please remember that a glass bottle, at the bottom of the river, can be there anywhere from 500-800 years before it turns back to sand. Next year the Muskegon River Clean-up, sponsored by Muskegon River Clean-up Company, LLC, will be on Saturday August 1, 2020. Please mark your calendars.