Health Plus: Hospital volunteers - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Hospital volunteers

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Would you believe a lot of those friendly faces serving you in local hospitals are unpaid staff?

Nearly 700 volunteers help keep things running smoothly at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare facilities in eastern Iowa.

Here's Health Plus with some of their stories.

For decades Judy Wasenius and Ginny Svoboda worked with students and parents at Saint Ed's in Waterloo.

Now the pair is applying their skills at Covenant Medical Center as 3-year patient advocate volunteers.

"Just find out if everything's going okay for them and this is a hospital request that we do to make sure everything's going okay for them, if there's any concerns," said Judy.

"It gets me up in the morning and gets me going. I know I'm doing something for someone else," said Ginny.

Gary Cooney is another retiree not wanting to slow down.

The longtime state patrol captain in Cedar Falls is happy to stay behind the wheel now as a volunteer driver at Covenant.

"And I pick up the expectant mothers and bring them in for their check-ups and that keeps me busy on Monday mornings and Wednesday mornings and then Wednesday afternoon I drive the caravan which we just pick up all patients that need rides into the hospital, said Gary.

680 volunteers are currently donating their time through Covenant, Sartori and Mercy Hospitals in the Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare System.

Coordinators say their ages range from 14 to 98.

"I have to tell you that they are such an integral part of healthcare because we couldn't do what we're doing without our volunteers," said Bev Degenhardt, Volunteer Services Coordinator.

So why should you consider volunteering?

"Oh it's very rewarding and people are so appreciative and we fell the same way. I mean that's why we do it," said Gary.

If you're interested in volunteering at one of Wheaton Franciscan's facilities, call 272-7855 or go to www.wheatoniowa.org and click on the volunteer link for an on-line application.

Volunteers are screened the same as paid employees.

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