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Volunteers help make hospital viable

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Members of the ENMMC Auxiliary Volunteers with some of the administrative staff pose for a photo in the hospital’s cafeteria. Donna Blair, information desk; Ruth Browning, gift shop; Warren Yehl, hospital CEO; Tarleton Curry, gift shop/Starbucks barista; Alberta Curry, gift shop and medical staffing; Brooke Linthicum, marketing director; Patsy Chesser, information desk; Martha Aldaco, information desk; Misty Archibeque, volunteer services director; Harriet Brown, patient ambassador; and Marie Powell, human resources volunteer. (Timothy P. Howsare Photo)

Some hospitals will advertise on TV about their specialists and surgeons, but if you ask Warren Yehl, the new CEO of Eastern New Mexico Medical Center, it takes more than just a great medical staff to have a top-notch hospital.

There are a group of dedicated people working at ENMMC who don’t get paid for their work. They are the Auxiliary Volunteers.

“I truly view the volunteers as part of our clinical team,” Yehl said. “They are the first faces you see when you walk in the door. We would be less of a hospital without their services.”

Now 79 volunteers strong, The Volunteer Auxiliary was established in 1958 to provide support for Eastern New Mexico Medical Center and the community of Roswell. Over the past two decades, the auxiliary has awarded more than $400,000 in scholarships to students in the health care field, assisted with educational material for the community and contributed to creating an overall feeling of comfort, support and calm for patients and visitors at ENMMC.

For the past 16 years, their internal newsletter has won first place in competitions with other hospital volunteer newsletters statewide. They’ve also won the 2007 Salute to Excellence Award for the Patient Ambassador program.

But it often the small things that count the most, like being a friend to a new patient.

Harriet Brown volunteers as a patient ambassador.

“I get a list of the people who come through the ER,” she said. “I go to visit them. I make a personal connection,” she said.

Another of the small-things-that-matter she and the other volunteers like to do is make decorations to go on patients’ food trays.

On a bit larger scale, the auxiliaries are responsible for brightening up the way the inside of the hospital looks. They paid for all of the murals hanging on the walls.

Petty Chesser described what motivated her to become a volunteer: “I didn’t live in Roswell and had to drive 35 miles when my daddy was in the hospital. His face would always light up whenever a volunteer came in to visit him. I told my husband that some day I am going to do that.”

Misty Archibeque is the new director of volunteer services, replacing Lynda Whalen, who retired after 28 years.

Archibeque moved from Texas three months ago for the job.

“I love it,” she said about her job. “I am very attached to these ladies.”

Though most of the volunteers are women, there are a few men.

A group of volunteers interviewed by the Roswell Daily Record commented that most of them are widowed, and being a volunteer has become part of their social network.

“We go to movies and dinner together,” one volunteer commented.

The Volunteer Auxiliary was established in 1958 to provide support for Eastern New Mexico Medical Center and the community of Roswell. Plans are in the works to celebrate their 60-year anniversary sometime in May.

Over the past two decades, the auxiliary has awarded more than $400,000 in scholarships to students in the health-care field, assisted with educational material for the community, and contributed to creating an overall feeling of comfort, support and calm for patients and visitors at ENMMC.

Volunteers work Monday through Friday, and each volunteer can work as few or as many hours as she or he wants. And you can work as a volunteer from home, knitting and crocheting.

Upcoming plans for the Volunteer Auxiliary include changing from the traditional pink uniforms to a teal, Southwestern color and significant updates and a remodeling of the gift shop and coffee bar.

They also plan to take a more active stance in educating our community and to create more volunteer opportunities within the hospital.

In the past 20 years, the Auxiliary Volunteers have logged more than 517,000 hours in over 100 areas of service.

There are currently volunteers in the following areas: baby bonnets, tray favors (putting small tokens on patients’ trays), baby blankets/bonnets, hospitality shop administrative areas, gift bags, information desk, newsletter, surgical waiting room, Patient Ambassador Program, coffee shop baristas serving Starbucks Coffee, dietary (working in the cafeteria), the Scholarship Committee and the Fundraising Committee.

Judy Borst is the current president and Marie Powell will take over as president on May 1.

ENMMC is currently recruiting volunteers in various areas of the hospital including the Cancer Center.

Archibeque said the hospital is in particular need of folks to volunteer in the coffee shop and information desk. because of the wonderful work she’s done for the organization. 575-625-9747 is her phone number. She has agreed to give a quote over the phone.

For more information or to become a volunteer, contact Archibeque at 575-627-4072.