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Longtime Adventist Hinsdale Hospital volunteers honored for service

Longtime Adventist Hinsdale Hospital volunteers Joyce Jessen, left, and Nancy Powers, both of Western Springs, were among those honored at the hospital’s annual volunteer luncheon April 15.

Hinsdale – In 1976, when Nancy Powers’ son faced open heart surgery, Powers realized she had to crush her fear of hospitals for his sake.



“I was really petrified and wondered, ‘How am I going to handle his surgery?’” said Powers, a Western Springs resident. “So I went to Hinsdale Hospital to volunteer as an escort. It was a selfish reason, but I just had to prepare myself.”


Thirty-five years later, Powers is still volunteering at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital on Tuesdays as an escort transporter. Powers, along with Nan Barnhart, of Clarendon Hills, and Joyce Jessen, of Western Springs, each received special honors April 15 at the 58th annual volunteer recognition luncheon at Ruth Lake Country Club in Hinsdale for more than 30 years of volunteer service to the hospital.


“All our volunteers are integral and invaluable parts of our hospital,” said Sher Fox, director of volunteer services. “They’re hardworking, dependable and never seek personal recognition.”


Last year, 557 volunteers provide a total of 45,613 hours of dedicated service to Adventist Hinsdale Hospital. These hours equate to a labor “value” of more than $923,665.


Through the years, Powers has also served as vice president and president of the volunteer board. She currently handles the board’s publicity. The board is an extension of the hospital’s healing of mission of Christ, even during its annual tree trimming party.


“On the day we decorate it, we have punch and cookies and different organizations come in and sing,” Powers said. “It’s open to anyone who comes into the hospital that day.”


In addition to serving, Powers enjoys fellowshipping with the other volunteers. “I have worked with different people through the years, but there is still a core group that I know,” Powers said. “The volunteers are a special group. They just want to give.”


Nan Barnhart, of Clarendon Hills, has donated more than 11,000 hours of her time to the family care nursery since she started volunteering in 1977. This year, her role was especially vital. As the floor prepared for hospital construction and required more volunteers, Barnhart trained them. She donated many hours making caps for the newborns. Nan has also served the board as both recording secretary and past president.


Through the years, Barnhart has also volunteered for the PTA and served in the Cook County Jail as part of The PACE (Program Activity for Correctional Education) Institute. There, Barnhart helped teach Bible study and prepare inmates for their GED. She also volunteers at Christ Church of Oak Brook and recently returned from a church mission trip to Romania.


But volunteering in the hospital nursery in Barnhart’s favorite, whether she’s transporting babies to and from the nursery for exams, dressing them, cleaning up cribs, holding fussy babies or fetching supplies.


“I love babies; newborns are my favorite age and the nursery is such a happy place,” Barnhart said. “I’ve been very blessed in life and I wouldn’t want to just sit back and revel in it. God tells us to serve our neighbors and I just want to give back to society.”


An original member of the sewing group, Joyce Jessen, of Western Springs, has spent many of her 22,000 volunteer hours during the past 37 years cutting and sewing fabric for cat and dog pillows for pediatric patients. She has also prepared information packets for smokers and worked as an escort transporter.


“Our Tuesday morning sewing group is such a wonderful group of people that we all look forward to coming in the morning,” Jessen said. “We go back home with a feeling of, ‘Gee, maybe our problems aren’t so bad after all.’”


Serving the hospital was something that Jessen, a homemaker, could offer the community, even as it provided a positive outlet for her sewing and embroidery skills. But it was her family’s influence that paved the way.


“I grew up in that kind of atmosphere,” Jessen said, “My mother always did church work as a volunteer and my sister has volunteered for 50 years at another hospital. I guess our mother’s example trickled down to us by osmosis.”


For more information about volunteering at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, call 630-856-4000.



Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit


Media contact: Lisa Parro, senior public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health,; 630-312-7508