Volunteers provide key aid to hospital

Published 11:24 am Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lifestyles & Features Editor

Ruby Moore remembers vividly the moment she decided to become a volunteer at Beaufort County Medical Center.
“I had retired, and I did a lot of traveling,” Moore said. “Then, I was in the grocery store one day and I looked up and saw a woman in a pink jacket. I decided that’s what I wanted to do.”
Moore was referring to the signature pink outfits worn by BCMC volunteers. That jacket reminded her of the need for extra pairs of hands at the hospital, to take care of errands and assist with some needs of patients.
That was more than four years ago, and Moore still pulls a four-hour shift weekly at the medical center. She was one of five on duty Friday afternoon when the Daily News visited in conjunction with doing interviews concerning National Volunteer Appreciation Week, which BCMC is observing through Saturday.
Moore is one of around 150 men, women and teenagers who volunteer at BCMC annually, according to Pam Shadle, director of marketing and public relations for Beaufort Regional Health System. Collectively, they contributed 17,554 hours last year.
Cheryl Schuch was indirectly inspired by longtime hospital volunteer Mary Mills to join those distinguished ranks.
“I was new to the area and I just wanted to do a volunteer project,” said Schuch, who signed up four years ago. “I saw an article in the newspaper about Mary and her volunteer work, and that inspired me.”
Ironically, it was also a newspaper story that prompted Mills to become a volunteer — nearly 41 years ago.
“I saw that the volunteer department of Beaufort County Hospital (as the facility was known then) was inviting people to volunteer here,” Mills said. “That was in 1969, and I’m the only charter member that’s still here.”
Mills said she’s seen a lot of changes at the medical facility during her time as a volunteer, and she admitted that the recent renovations posed a challenge since she and the other volunteers and employees had to learn the new layout.
But it’s been worth it, Mills added.
“It makes you feel good that you’re helping someone,” she said. “I look forward to it every week.
Volunteer Claire Poley, who joined the pink-clad volunteers three years ago, finds the experience “very rewarding.”
“The Junior League in Greenville wouldn’t let me volunteer in Greenville because I live in Washington, so I came here, to their loss and my win,” Poley said with a smile.
Bessie LaVictoire, a Texas native, came to BCMC by way of Aurora. She, too, was looking for a way to give back to the community.
“As a widow, it gave me a chance to get out and help others,” said LaVictoire, who has been part of the volunteer team for six or seven years. “I feel good about it.”
The women said the volunteers all get along well and enjoy spending time together.
In fact, the volunteer lounge last week somewhat resembled a college dorm room. The five “pink ladies” said they pass the hours sipping coffee and bottled water, reading paperback novels and catching up on the news during their down time.
But, as the phone begins ringing, they disappear one by one to handle assignments throughout the medical center.