UnityPoint Health - Trinity Regional Medical Center celebrated 244 volunteers who have volunteered a combined 258,208 hours of their time for the hospital Tuesday.
"The volunteers are incredibly important to the patient experience," Kathy Moe, director of volunteer and guest services, said. "They add that extra touch of compassion that is essential to a positive health outcome."
The volunteers were honored with a banquet, kind words and fun.
From left, Caroll Schoon, Eileen Yung and Jan Nelson, all volunteers at Trinity Regional Medical Center, select prizes from a Scrabble game at a banquet honoring more than 200 volunteers Tuesday.
Webster County Beef Princess Emma Clouth hands frozen rib-eye steaks to Trinity Regional Medical Center volunteers as they leave a celebration honoring their efforts on Tuesday.
"Tonight is about fun," Moe said.
The celebration started off with a modified version of Scrabble.
Each table had around 25 tiles and whichever table made the longest word in two minutes was the winner.
One table almost won with the word "nationality," until it was pointed out that it was misspelled. It had two extra letters.
"We had to spell check," Pat Fallon, who has volunteered 721 hours, admitted to the crowd. "It's actually only thirteen letters."
Next, Moe welcomed the volunteers and explained the theme of the event.
Though the number of both volunteers and hours are both large, the theme was "words," not "numbers."
A slide show played during the celebration pairing photos of the volunteers with words like kind, caring, friendly, supportive and willing.
"Every one of you have all of those traits," Moe said
One volunteer, Caroll Schoon, has been helping the hospital for 17 years.
Over the 17 years, she has volunteered more than 12,000 hours.
"I'm not doing it for the hours," Schoon said. "I'm just doing it to help people."
Jan Nelson, another volunteer at Trinity Regional, is there for the same reason.
"People ask why we do this and that haven't a clue," she said. "It's so gratifying."
Nelson began volunteering after her grandson died of cancer 12 years ago.
Now she volunteers in the oncology department, where she has helped more than 3,500 hours.
"You cry with the patients," she said. "Then when they have a good day, you get so happy."
Volunteers were given a small box of soil with a kernel of corn inside.
This was symbolic of what a valuable resource the volunteers are.
The words "transfer," "inspire," "innovate," and "passion," were printed on the box.
"Every time you volunteer, you inspire," Moe said.
Sue Thompson, president and chief executive officer of Trinity, reminded the volunteers that the best things in the world are free.
The volunteers provide their time and energy without any compensation.
After the dinner and the celebration, the volunteers were provided one last word from Moe.
"I have one more word for the evening: beef," she said.
Every volunteer was handed a 10-ounce rib-eye steak by this years Webster County beef princess, Emma Clouth.