04/25/08 — Hospital staff honors community volunteers

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Hospital staff honors community volunteers

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on April 25, 2008 1:45 PM

Wayne Memorial Hospital said thank you Thursday to more than 100 people who volunteer their time to help staff and patients.

Staff members were the waiters and waitresses at Lane Tree Golf Club as they served the honorees and their guests.

Volunteer Richard Kulak received the Volunteer of the Year Award, with Vivian Dail earning the Special Recognition Award for a new volunteer who has made an especially notable contribution of time and effort.

Esther Markham received the Rose Christian Koch Award for exemplifying service excellence.

All those in attendance also received a token of the hospital's appreciation for their contributions.

Featured speaker Dave Milidonis, executive director of the National Veterans' Freedom Park, told those gathered about the foundation's efforts to document untold stories about veterans. He asked the honorees to volunteer by becoming storytellers for the unsung heroes and to help turn those stories in to the National Veterans' Freedom Park.

He said it has been 65 years since World War II, and there are six million veterans alive today from that war. But he said 50 per day are dying in North Carolina alone.

"As World War II veterans pass away, their stories are going to the grave," he said. "... They're dying in history because nobody wrote about it."

It's been 40 years since Viet Nam, and many of those stories are still untold, he added.

But there is something that can be done about it.

"We are the problem and the solution. Veterans have not stepped forward to tell our story," Milidonis said.

The concept behind the National Veterans' Freedom Park Foundation is to find veterans of all sorts from all walks of life, and to convince them to share their memories.

He added that he hopes Americans will join the effort to preserve history.

The 100 or so volunteers gave the hospital 20,971 hours in 2007, volunteer services director Donna Archer said.

She said staff members understand the contribution and were eager to say thank you.

"You actually serve these people all year long, Mrs. Archer said. "The people who are here jumped at the opportunity to say thank you for all you do."