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Volunteering: Good for Everyone’s Health

Diane Ruffinio, Beebe volunteer
Volunteer Diane Ruffino

By: Ashley Foster, Chief People Officer

April marks National Volunteer Month, and this week, Beebe Healthcare honors Volunteer Appreciation Week. As our healthcare systems strive for top-notch quality and outcomes, volunteers play an increasingly crucial role. Since stepping into my position, I've witnessed firsthand the unwavering support of our community for Beebe Healthcare. Our devoted volunteers, each bringing their own distinct contributions and stories, exemplify the spirit of giving back.

With more than 375 volunteers dedicating thousands of hours annually, our volunteers are indispensable in fulfilling our mission to serve the community of Sussex County. They embody the warm welcomes for visitors, offer essential assistance on patient floors, ensure swift mail delivery, provide enriching activities for patients of all ages, and maintain our gift shops alongside our auxiliary members. Their absence during the COVID-19 pandemic was deeply felt by our entire team.

Although there are numerous volunteers that I would like to acknowledge, one individual stands out. Diane Ruffino, as pictured, has volunteered in the mailroom, and other departments at Beebe, for over 31 years! After retiring from her career, Diane decided to use her talents to assist Beebe. She comes in for her shift every week to deliver mail throughout the campus. It's important to take a moment and appreciate the dedication it takes to volunteer for an organization for over 30 years. Diane has become an essential part of Beebe's history and culture. She is an unsung hero.

Just like Diane, each volunteer arrives with a rich narrative — a diverse background, a career journey, and a collection of life experiences that shape their unique perspective. Often, their decision to volunteer at a community healthcare institution like Beebe is driven by a personal experience. Perhaps they witnessed firsthand the compassionate care provided to a loved one undergoing cancer treatment, finding solace in the warmth of a volunteer's smile. Some may have been recipients of life-saving care from Beebe's Emergency Department, fueling their desire to give back. Others might be aspiring medical professionals, eager to gain firsthand experience in the field.

Every volunteer brings their own tale, woven with threads of compassion, gratitude, and a shared commitment to making a difference. We cherish the diverse motivations that lead individuals to give back. These stories grace us during every volunteer orientation, reminding us of the selflessness that drives each individual to answer the call to serve Beebe.

As we honor National Volunteer Month, let's recognize the profound health benefits of volunteering. Research reveals its positive impact on both volunteers and those they serve, reducing rates of depression, lowering stress levels and blood pressure, and enhancing overall well-being. Volunteering fosters purpose, builds relationships, and promotes a healthier, happier life for all involved.

For our team, the very presence of our volunteers at Beebe is a testament to how much the community cares and supports the hard work that they do each day. This additional support lightens the workload and strengthens our bond with the community, making us feel proud and connected. In our healthcare mission, promoting community health is paramount. Inspired by our volunteers' impact, we invite you to join our team. Your time and effort can truly transform lives in our community.

Various volunteer roles, both clinical and non-clinical, are available throughout the healthcare system. If you're interested in volunteering at Beebe, we encourage you to call 302-645-3531 or visit the Volunteer Services page.