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Willowbrook man gives back to hospital by volunteering
Contact: Lisa Parro, senior public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health 630-312-7508 Lisa.parro@ahss.org
 
Hinsdale – Seven years ago, when Willowbrook resident Joe Sanek sent a newspaper clipping to a friend, he never imagined that he also would be recognized for volunteering at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital.

But when the friend, who was honored in the paper for his volunteer service at the hospital, called Sanek to thank him, he convinced Sanek to join the ranks. Sanek, who previously had back surgery at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, was happy to help out.

“I thought, ‘Why not?’” Sanek said. “The hospital’s been good to me; I like serving people; and I had the time.”

That decision resulted in more than 1,150 accumulated volunteer hours and recognition as the hospital’s volunteer of the month.

From noon to 4 p.m. every Friday, Sanek escorts people to tests, takes specimens to the lab, delivers newspapers, and wheels patients to the door upon discharge. Making friendly conversation is an important part of his job, and Sanek always finds a common ground, even when the individual doesn’t speak much English.

“I always ask, ‘Are you having a good day?’ and most of them are pretty honest, especially if they are in pain,” Sanek said. “Some like to talk about where they grew up, and I like hearing their interesting backgrounds.”

A retired farmer, Sanek is married to Joan; they have one daughter and three grandchildren. He is also a 35-year trustee at Westchester Community Church, where he shares his planting talents as the church’s official flower gardener, overseeing the maintenance of six flower beds.

“I choose the flowers to plant each spring, and if I get help, fine. If not, I do it myself, one bed at a time,” Sanek said.

Sher Fox, director of volunteer services at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, praised Sanek for his faithful service.

“Joe likes people, so being a patient escort is the perfect fit for him,” Fox said. “We appreciate all he has done for the hospital.”

To volunteer at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, call (630) 856-4000.