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Volunteering is a Two-Way Blessing for Charleston Man

August 29, 2014 9:53 a.m.

Norm Kitley considers volunteering a win-win situation. “You feel good because you’re helping others, and others feel good because they’re getting the help they need,” he said.

As a volunteer for Sarah Bush Lincoln, “I have gained so many wonderful experiences and made many friendships.”

Always quick to work extra hours when needed, Kitley was surprised to earn honors as Volunteer of the Year in 2014 at the Guild’s annual banquet. “I’m extremely humbled. There are so many others that are so deserving,” he said. Recognized for being “warm, welcoming, and ready to give you a smile,” Kitley has worked beyond his shift on more than one occasion. Patient Services staff members, who nominated Kitley for the award, were especially grateful for his assistance in March when many were arriving after hours to enroll in health insurance plans through SBL’s In-person Counselor program. “No one asked him to stay late, he just stepped up and helped out after his shift was over,” his nominator wrote.

Answering questions and providing directions at the guest relation’s desk faithfully twice a week, “the best thing to do is to make people as comfortable as possible because this is a hospital and families could be facing life and death situations,” he said. “He’s always checking the schedule to see when he can help out,” Colleen Stoner, director of Volunteer Services said. Kitley began volunteering as soon as he moved to Charleston in 2003 as a way to give back and meet people after retirement. For several years, Kitley and his wife volunteered at Lincoln Log Cabin and later started serving at Sarah Bush Lincoln. Kitley said he found the volunteer work at the Health Center extremely gratifying.

Not long after sadly losing his wife in November 2011, Kitley began checking the schedule every day and offering to come in whenever more help was needed. “I just enjoy the people,” Kitley said. “Volunteering has given me the opportunity to make new friends, while putting people at the hospital at ease. It has been a very rewarding experience.”

While he faces new challenges each time he volunteers, Kitley is grateful for the opportunity. “This is a such a wonderful place that helps so many people in so many different ways,” he said. With plans to continue volunteering as long as he can, he also acknowledges the importance of his faith. “I do everything for the Lord,” he said.

Others nominated for Volunteer of the Year included Sharon Fox, Karen Huffmaster, Florence Beck, Joyce Lock, Evelyn Metzger, Fontella Waddell, and Suzi Coffman. In addition, the following volunteers were recognized for service awards at the banquet: 500 hours – Norman Kitley, Sharon Lauer, Phyllis Milam, Linda Spencer; 1000 hours – Nicole Brooks, Kathy Spence; 1,500 hours – Suzi Coffman; 2,000 hours – Shirley Nees; 2,500 hours – Sharon Fox, Debbie Grierson; 3,500 hours – Nandini Joag; 4,500 hours - Manju Basu; 5,000 hours – Barbara Blagg; 8,000 hours – Barbara Hoppin, Mary Williams; 8,500 hours – Wanda Hughes; 12,500 hours – Jane Houchin; 14,000 hours – Joan Cole; 22,000 hours – Alma Watson.

Volunteers are an important element in the total patient-care program at Sarah Bush Lincoln. While providing community services, volunteers often touch the lives of others during difficult times. Volunteer opportunities at Sarah Bush Lincoln include Gift Shop clerk, guest relations desk, Regional Cancer Center, Emergency Room Liaison, Patient Mail Service, clerical, and the Volunteer Nurse Program.

For more information about volunteering or about a specific opportunity, please call Volunteer Services at (217) 258-2500.


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