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5 Volunteers Share Their Phelps Health Experience

Volunteer giving flowers
Volunteer Julie Schmidt, right, gives flowers to a Phelps Health employee.

Published on April 3, 2020

Volunteers with the Phelps Health Auxiliary and Volunteer Services wear many hats. They help transport patients, visit with and talk to the elderly, greet visitors, run the gift shop and assist in meal delivery. Depending on the department needs, they can help in most areas. There are several reasons why people volunteer at Phelps Health.

Ron Mills – 11 years

A native of Rolla, MO, Ron Mills has been volunteering at Phelps Health for 11 years. “Before I started volunteering, I had a terrible accident and was brought to Phelps Health, where I stayed for almost two weeks,” said Mills. “I had the most incredible nurses and doctors caring for me every day during my stay. They made a difference in my recovery and inspired me to want to get better.”

After being released, Mills immediately applied and was accepted to become a volunteer for the Phelps Health Auxiliary and Volunteer Services. As a volunteer, Mills walks patients to different areas throughout the hospital for appointments. “The friends you make and the people you help become a community,” Mills said.

Mabel Godfrey - 20 years

With two decades of experience, Mabel Godfrey is a seasoned volunteer. “I help out with the Lily Pad Gift Shop and love every minute of it,” said Godfrey. “I had to learn a new computer system when the gift shop expanded, but I’ve gotten to meet so many interesting people and form great friendships. People come in to buy gifts they can’t buy anywhere else in town, but sometimes they also just want someone to visit with when someone they love is getting care at the hospital.”

For Godfrey, being able to volunteer at Phelps Health has helped her meet new people, make a difference in her community and learn new skills. Godfrey moved to Rolla, MO, 50 years ago. When she is not volunteering at Phelps Health, she participates in Club TEAC, the Club To End All Clubs.

Ron McClanahan – 3 years

A three-year volunteer, Ron McClanahan believes in going where the need is. “When I first started volunteering, I just wanted to help and went wherever the need was,” said McClanahan. He volunteers at the Phelps Health Delbert Day Cancer Institute, handing out care items and lunches to patients.

“Hurting isn’t always visible. With patients who are receiving cancer treatments, you get a chance as a volunteer to show them that you care and that they matter.”

Being a volunteer has made McClanahan more compassionate and sympathetic to what others may be struggling with. “I’ve become more aware of others around me since I started volunteering. It’s a really beautiful thing to help others because it makes you feel good.”

Sherry Elliot – 6 years

Sherry Elliott has always loved helping others. From an early age, she knew she wanted to pursue a career where she could give back to others and became an early childhood educator. After teaching in San Diego, CA, for 35 years, Sherry and her husband relocated to Rolla, MO, in 2001.

Elliott has been a volunteer for six years and helps out at the Lily Pad Gift Shop and with special events, such as book fairs and blood drives. “Working in the Lily Pad Gift Shop, you get to meet people at some of the most vulnerable moments of their lives and make a positive impact,” said Elliott. “One woman ad a husband who was undergoing surgery at Phelps Health and was very distraught. I was able put my arm around her, listen to her story and encourage her that day.”

Julie Schmidt – 14 years

Julie Schmidt became a volunteer 14 years ago to keep busy after retirement. “I always want to be doing something,” Schmidt said. “As a cancer survivor, I want to give back to those who have given so much to me.” 

Schmidt stocks and folds rack cards for mailings and delivery throughout the hospital, among other volunteer work. Originally from Harvey, ND, Julie and her husband Pete moved to Rolla, MO, in 1983.

Volunteering has made a positive impact in Schmidt’s life, and she encourages everyone to volunteer in some capacity. “Volunteering is lots of laughs and fun,” said Schmidt. “You feel loved and you get to give back to your community.”

Are you looking for volunteer opportunities?

Learn more about the Phelps Health Auxiliary and Volunteer Services by calling Phil Cox at (573) 458-7935 or Crystal Lorah at (573) 458-7947 or by clicking here.

Found in: Auxiliary Auxiliary and Volunteer Services Community Volunteering