REM Award Honorees (2013) — Jim Mathieu and Roger Smith (Inland Hospital)

At Inland, volunteers are vital contributors to helping us achieve our mission “to care for and serve our community.” Their helping hands and giving hearts are a gift to us in many ways.

Whether they are comforting a patient in the hospital or a resident at Lakewood, working in the gift shop, greeting people at the front door, or assisting with mail, materials or clerical work, volunteers are VIPs in our world!

It was lucky for Inland and its patients when two retired gentlemen looking to stay active in their community chose Inland Hospital as their place to “give back”. Jim Mathieu of Winslow and Roger Smith of Fairfield didn’t know each other before becoming volunteers at Inland, but now they are good friends who enjoy sharing volunteer duties in the Day Surgery Unit every Wednesday.

“You light up the place,” said Dr. Brian Gillis as he shook their hands outside a patient room after hearing they had been named Inland’s Volunteers of the Year. “You’re always smiling, friendly and helpful — thank you for being here for us!”

Smith has been volunteering at Inland since 2009 and Mathieu since 2010 doing anything needed to assist with post-operative patients, from delivering snacks and good cheer, to helping patients into wheelchairs and walking them and their families out to their transportation.

“Jim and Roger provide the last impression of Inland as patients leave, and it’s always a compassionate, personal approach. They are shining examples of how we put our patients first in all we do,” notes Caroline Crowell, Director of Volunteer Services.

Smith and Mathieu both beam with pride about their volunteer experience. “It feels good to know we are helping people and getting their needs met — it takes all of us to ensure a great patient experience. I am proud to be part of it all,” Mathieu says with a smile.

Smith enjoys the conversations he has with patients and families. “I see how much it helps when they are uncomfortable or uneasy after surgery. You know what I hear most often from patients? They say, ‘I’m glad I came to Inland!’ and everyone should be proud of that!”

To volunteer at Inland Hospital or at Lakewood Continuing Care, call Caroline Crowell at 861-3325 or Penny Lagasse at 873-5125, respectively.

For more information about Inland Hospital, please visit its website.

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