Help from the heart

UnityPoint thanks the most selfless, whose volunteer efforts keep the regional medical center ticking

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Shirlee Ashbaugh, a critical care volunteer at UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center, right, greets Bert Little, the top volunteer at the hospital, during the UnityPoint — Fort Dodge annual volunteer recognition dinner Tuesday night at Best Western Starlite Village Inn & Suites.

For a long time, Don Haupts, of Manson, wasn’t too fond of hospitals.

“Twice I swore I’d never go back,” Haupts said Tuesday at the UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge annual volunteer recognition dinner.

One of those times was after he served during World War II, he said.

“I was a medic in the Navy,” Haupts said.

He served from 1944 to 1946.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Leah Glasgo, president and CEO of UnityPoint Health - Trinity Regional Medical Center, right, presents a volunteer pin to Linda Lynch during the UnityPoint Health - Fort Dodge annual volunteer recognition dinner Tuesday night at Best Western Starlite Village.

The other time was when his wife was diagnosed with cancer.

“I didn’t ever want to go again,” Haupts said.

But later in life, he had a change of heart when he remembered how helpful people were at the hospital.

“I thought the volunteers were so good,” Haupts said. “I wanted to give back.”

Haupts has served 1,942 volunteer hours. He began volunteering at UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center in 2007.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Don Haupts, a World War II veteran from Manson, looks on during the UnityPoint Health - Fort Dodge annual volunteer recognition event at Best Western Starlite Village Tuesday night. Haupts has been volunteering at the hospital since 2007.

He, along with dozens of other volunteers, donated 20,578.80 hours to the hospital in 2018, according to Kathy Moe, manager of volunteer and guest services.

In terms of transports, the volunteers were busy.

Moe said volunteers completed 22,483 transports and escorts from the Atrium alone.

She said that number is 1,256 more than the previous year.

“You guys were booking it,” Moe said.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Donna Davis, valet worker at UnityPoint Health - Trinity Regional Medical Cernter, visits during the UnityPoint Health - Fort Dodge annual volunteer recognition dinner at Best Western Starlite Village Tuesday night.

Bert Little was honored as the volunteer with the most hours. She has a total of 9,272 hours that she’s donated to the hospital.

“I do everything but the gift shop,” Little said.

Her favorite place to volunteer?

“At the Atrium in front of the hospital,” she said. “Anywhere where there’s people.”

Donna Davis, a valet worker at the hospital, provided Little with a ride to the event.

“We have become very good friends,” Davis said.

Shirlee Ashbaugh, a critical care volunteer, stopped by Little’s table to visit with her.

“We have worked together a long time at the hospital,” Ashbaugh said.

Ashbaugh has volunteered for 17 years, she said.

Moe said Little was “Her favorite Sunday school teacher.”

Leah Glasgo, the president and CEO of UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center, said to the volunteers, “It’s a joy and an honor to spend time with you.”

She thanked Moe for her contributions.

“She makes it all happen,” Glasgo said.

Glasgo said she saw the value in volunteers when she worked at a community hospital at age 16.

“My grandfather was ill of cancer, so we began our travels for chemo,” she said. “We understood the importance of volunteers.”

Glasgo said one of the things she has realized since she began working at UnityPoint is, “There are some amazing people at the hospital.”

At the end of the dinner, Moe presented each volunteer with a challenge.

“Something as simple as sharing a smile to someone who hadn’t seen a smile all day can make a difference beyond comprehension,” Moe said. “Some people say that you can’t do much with $10, but I disagree.”

Each volunteer was given $10 to spend in whatever way they choose.

“Let’s see what joy $10 can bring,” Moe said. “Do something with it and pay it forward.”

The volunteers were asked to write how they spent the money on the back of a card.

“We are going to put all of these stories together to show what difference a little can make,” Moe said.

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