04/26/04 — Cherry recognizes volunteers

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Cherry recognizes volunteers

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 26, 2004 1:57 PM

Cherry Hospital volunteers were honored at an appreciation luncheon on Friday, with awards going to a group and an individual who have collectively donated 55 years of service.

The Wilson County Mental Health Association received the Edythe O. Blanton volunteer service award.

According to Penny Withrow, volunteer services coordinator, "Since 1970, they have diligently every month stepped foot on this campus.

"They have provided kind words, promoted any project that we have had and taken it back to their community."

Volunteers held parties for patients in Wilson and Greene counties at Cherry, provided donations, participated in Operation Santa Claus and other projects and activities.

Annie Taylor was named Senior Companion of the Year.

Ms. Taylor is respectful, courteous, receptive to new ideas and has a good sense of humor, said Joy Faison, volunteer services coordinator.

"She has volunteered here on record 17 years, but I know it's truly around 21 years," she said.

Marshall Smith, assistant hospital director and chief of professional services, said the importance of being a volunteer is that it comes from the heart.

"If you ask any volunteer, they typically say, 'In my own life, I feel more fulfilled and satisfied because I have shared with someone else,'" he said.

Last year, the hospital had an average of 123 volunteers each month, he said, both individuals and groups.

"The total volunteer hours last year were 19,795," he said. "That computes out to one person having to work around the clock for two years and three months non-stop."

He said the hospital received more than $10,000 in cash donations, $50,000 in materials donated, and more than 840 student volunteers.

Tanya Rollins, director of special services at the hospital, summed it up in a quote she found:

"There's no better exercise for your heart than reaching down and lifting someone else up."