Nonprofit Spotlight: Volunteers important to Avera St. Luke’s Hospital

Farm Forum

This column was written by Mary Davis, vice president of human resources at Avera St. Luke’s Hospital.

Text There’s an old saying that it takes a village to raise a child. In the same sense, I believe it takes a community to run a hospital. Avera St. Luke’s has been a part of our community for 111 years, and we know that we couldn’t run our hospital without you.

We want to recognize and say thank you to our regional community’s residents who make the care and services of Avera St. Luke’s possible. We appreciate all of your support and partnerships.

First and foremost, we have to say thank you to the 180 volunteers who unselfishly give their time to assist in our daily operations. Our volunteers perform hundreds of duties every day, such as welcoming everyone who enters, helping visitors find their way, creating patient information packets, delivering lab samples, keeping families company as they support their loved ones and operating the gift shop. We know they all have busy lives, so we are very grateful for the time they share with our patients and residents. They are simply amazing.

Belonging and feeling comfortable in our community is absolutely key for our employees, especially newcomers, to stay in South Dakota. Friends and neighbors are an integral part of welcoming new people to the community as we recruit and retain health care workers and providers. Knowing that neighbors welcome them, help them become part of the community, care about them and help them feel safe can only be done as a community. Newcomers and South Dakota natives feel your hospitality.

Our local and regional partners in the schools and other health care facilities help us provide education on health issues, lead support groups and prevent drug and alcohol use. These partners, schools, social workers and past patients are passionate about helping others have a high quality of life, regardless of their circumstances or illnesses.

Some of the support from our community comes from individuals and organizations who simply want to “make” our patients’ and residents’ day. Some sources are anonymous. Each holiday, treats of some kind arrive — poinsettias at Christmas and cookies or other treats for holidays throughout the year. They simply arrive, with no card, but obviously sent with great love. Individuals, clubs, classes and organizations bring stuffed toys, games and homemade quilts.

At Christmas, many local choruses, families and service organizations bring song, gifts and flowers. Mr. and Mrs. Santa always visit. All are intended to let our patients know that someone is thinking about them and cares.

At our longterm care facilities, people from the community come to entertain with music. Some come to help with activities and others to visit or simply to spend time with the residents. There is no greater gift than that of time and presence. All come from a community who cares about its neighbors and friends.

We are very grateful for everything you do for us. We are your hospital and we couldn’t run Avera St. Luke’s without you. You are our community, the best possible. Thank you!