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Emanuel Volunteer Auxiliary Celebrates 50 Years of Giving Back

Turlock, CA- This spring, the dedicated volunteers of the Emanuel Volunteer Auxiliary will reach another milestone - 50 years of service to Emanuel Medical Center, its patients and the communities the hospital serves.

To mark the occasion, Emanuel will host a breakfast celebration for current and past volunteers on April 9 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Larsa Banquet Hall at 2107 East Monte Vista Ave. It's free to attend, but volunteers must RSVP by March 26 to (209) 664-5190.

Turlock's Zella Linn was one of the original charter members of the Volunteer Auxiliary when it began in 1961, and she still volunteers today. She recently worked a shift in the surgical waiting room, helping a man waiting anxiously while his wife was in surgery.

"I asked him if I could bring him something to drink, and he said he'd like a cup of tea," Linn said. "When I brought it to him, he was so appreciative. As a volunteer, you love to do things like that."

That's an ordinary act of kindness for Emanuel's Volunteer Auxiliary, but the cumulative effect of its accomplishments have been nothing short of extraordinary. Here are some figures:

  • Since 1998, the Volunteer Auxiliary has awarded 151 scholarships worth $154,200
  • Since 1980, the Auxiliary has donated more than $1,000,000 to the hospital's Legacy Circle campaigns, another $345,000 to Hospice of Emanuel, and more than a half-million to the hospital's general fund.
  • From 2005 to 2010, Auxiliary volunteers donated 386,417 hours of service to Emanuel Medical Center.
  • Already in this fiscal year, volunteers have donated 76,946 hours.

"There aren't complete records from the early years, but it's very safe to say that Emanuel's extraordinary volunteers have contributed millions of hours of service to this hospital and community, and we know they've contributed millions of dollars," said Regina Amador, Emanuel's director of volunteer services. "This hospital wouldn't be the same without them."

Pat Wickstrom is another charter Auxiliary member, volunteering since 1961.

"In the beginning, there weren't too many areas the volunteers worked in," she said. "There were a lot more jobs as time went on - they found out we could do a lot of things and put us to work!"

Today the hospital has about 800 active volunteers ranging in age from 14 to the recently-retired Ethel Nicholson's 92. Volunteers work in 35 different hospital departments or programs.

High school students can work in all volunteer areas except the Emergency Room and the Emanuel Cancer Center (which have minimum age requirements of 18). Many of the student volunteers are nursing and pre-med college students who get a real-life look at the health care field.

"That's another service the Auxiliary offers to the community," said current Auxiliary President Shirley Flowers. "Through the years, we've helped a lot of young people decide their futures."

All volunteers must attend orientation training, but there are no minimum time commitments after that. To learn more about volunteering, to view the orientation schedule, or to apply to be a volunteer, visit emanuelmedicalcenter.org (volunteer page).

Emanuel Medical Center is a not-for-profit, community-based Christian hospital. Its 403-bed multi-level medical campus includes a 209-bed acute care hospital, a 145-bed skilled nursing facility and a 49-bed assisted living facility. It provides emergency, critical care, pediatric, cardiovascular services, cancer diagnosis and treatment, women's health services, surgery, and hospice services.

For more information, to search for a doctor by specialty or location, or for an online symptom-checker, visit www.emanuelmedicalcenter.org.

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