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Hospital honors volunteers


Hinsdale – Thankful for a pleasant birthing experience for two of her children, Western Springs resident Anne Shay began volunteering at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital when her youngest child started school. Thirty-five years later, Shay is still proudly serving at the hospital, working in the recovery room as a liaison between hospital patients and their families and assisting nurses in making patients more comfortable. She is also a past president of the volunteer board.

“I make small ice packs, run errands, put warm blankets on patients who are shivering and hold babies when they are fussing,” Shay said. “Through the years, I have learned so much about how Adventist Hinsdale Hospital gives to the community and what a wonderful establishment it is.”

Shay and her husband, Jerry, have three children and 10 grandchildren. She recruited Jerry to become a hospital volunteer as well.

Shay was among more than 200 volunteers honored at the hospital’s 56th annual meeting and awards luncheon, held April 23 at Ruth Lake Country Club in Hinsdale. She received special honors for her longtime service. Special honors also were bestowed upon Darien resident Joanne Wills, who is celebrating 25 years of service, and La Grange Park resident Emil Brkovic, who has accumulated 20 years of service.

The total number of volunteer hours accumulated in 2008 is equivalent to the work of 21 full-time employees, said Sher Fox, the hospital’s volunteer director.

“Our volunteers are the finest group of people you will ever meet because they are here for all the right reasons,” Fox said. “Nobody has to show up, but they make a major contribution that is visible. They take the time to smile and to help out everyone they meet.”

Wills started volunteering in 1984. She had considered a nursing career, but channeled that interest into volunteering at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital’s patient registration department where she continues to serve today. She is also a past president of the volunteer board.

“Patients who come into admitting are a little fearful at times,” Wills said. “When I spend time with them, I try to make them feel a little more comfortable and at ease.”

Fox called Wills “extraordinarily dependable,” adding that she also has a wonderful sense of humor.

Wills and her husband, Frank, have five children and 12 grandchildren. Before retiring 10 years ago, she worked part-time for an insurance company.

Emil Brkovic began volunteering at the hospital in 1989, when his daughter was manager of the gastroenterology laboratory. For many years, he volunteered twice a week at the information desk. Now 87 years old, Brkovic has accumulated 3,000 volunteer hours at the hospital.

“He’s a nice gentleman, with a ready smile that makes people feel good,” Fox said.

Two volunteers honored for 15 years of service are Ronald Sindelar of Darien and John Stob of Elmhurst. Seven volunteers honored for 10 years of service are Marge Barendt of Broadview, Jean Borcherding of Burr Ridge.