SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– As COVID-19 cases drop, more people are going back to work – and for some, they’re going back to serving others. That includes volunteers at Mercy Hospital.
Mercy has more than 3,000 volunteers – and most of them weren’t able to serve when the pandemic began.
While volunteers are returning to Springfield soon, they’re already back to work in Lebanon. We spoke with two women who have volunteered a combined seven years. They say they couldn’t sit still for any longer at home – they wanted to come back.
This is Leslyn Randazzo’s fifth year volunteering.
“I always wanted to be a nurse and didn’t have the mental acuity to do it,” Randazzo said. “So I figured, ‘I’ll get my foot in the door this way.'”
She works in the pain clinic for four hours every other Wednesday, and five and a half hours every Thursday.
“when the nurses have completed what they need to do, we get the patient into a wheelchair and then take them out to the car. When we come back, we change a bed, and then we move the bed into the incoming department.”
Jane Thorpe has been her co-worker for almost two years. She works every other Wednesday, Thursday and sometimes Friday. Wednesdays can be four to seven hour days, and the rest of her week is normally four-hour shifts.
“I used to have a farm but I lost my husband three years ago and we had to sell the farm,” Thorpe said. “So I was bored, and now I volunteer with Mercy.
It gives me a feeling that I’m contributing to society.”
It’s a feeling Thorpe said she missed when Mercy put its volunteer programs on hold last Spring.
“I felt concerned for the nurses here because they didn’t have the support they need,” Thorpe said. “I was bugging them weekly here asking when they were gonna let us come back.”
So did Randazzo.
“The library also was closed during parts of those times too and if it wasn’t COVID, it was the weather.”
Luckily for them, Mercy’s Lebanon location invited volunteers back recently.
“We came back as soon as they said it was okay,” Randazzo said.
“They almost had a party down there when we started coming back,” Thorpe said.
Teenagers and older, including people with disabilities, currently help out at Mercy.
Again – the hospital is working to bring back volunteers at its other locations.