Volunteering allows you to make your world a bit bigger again

Shirley Hooper, Volunteer

Shirley Hooper has quite a history with the hospital in South Haven. She started as a pink lady, a volunteer, in the 1970s. She enjoyed the opportunity to assist patients and it inspired her to pursue a nursing degree. Even though she was already a busy mother of three, she back to school and became a registered nurse, starting on the medical floor and then moving on to pediatrics and then the OB department.

Now, many years later, Shirley has circled back, volunteering at the Bronson General Surgery and Bronson Wound Center & Hyperbaric Medicine on the second floor of Bronson South Haven Hospital. Interestingly, surgery and the wound center are both located in same location that previously housed the OB department.

“I’ve come back here to the wound center, both as a patient and now as a volunteer,” stated Shirley. “I’ve been able to take advantage of this wonderful center and now have the privilege of welcoming patients as a volunteer, too.” She has been so impressed with the staff at the wound center. “Everybody, every single person is so skilled at what they do and so compassionate. Yet, they have a sense of humor and that really puts the patient at ease,” shared Shirley. “Personally, they’ve pulled me through more than one problem.”

She said she started formulating the idea of being a volunteer at the wound center because she loves being around people and was interested in having contact with patients and visitors. “I love volunteering and I love the wound center, so I thought it would be a great combination,” said Shirley.

She mentioned that volunteering makes her feel good because she’s able to offer patients some reassurance, a friendly face and a smile as they visit the wound center. As an example, Shirley shared that a patient came through before Christmas and noticed her knitting. He asked if she could knit him a blanket, as he often felt cold while undergoing tests and procedures.

Realizing that knitting a full-sized throw would take quite some time, she instead purchased a blanket and presented it to him before Christmas. “It was a simple way to show someone a little kindness,” said Shirley, “So I just did it.” A member of the wound center who was aware of this kind gesture added that the patient took the gift home and put it under the tree, waiting until Christmas to open it.

“The hospital volunteer auxiliary is a great organization,” mentioned Shirley. “Sometimes as you get older, your world gets smaller. Volunteering allows you to make your world a bit bigger again.” She encouraged others to give volunteering a try, too. If you are interested in volunteering at Bronson South Haven, contact Chris Wellington at (269) 639-2809 for more information.