After more than 24 years as a volunteer at Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital, Gloria Mazzeo is the longest-serving volunteer at the hospital, having accumulated more than 8,500 hours, working in every volunteer position available. And she’s still going strong.
“There are so many positions to choose from and that has made it interesting for me,” Mazzeo said while looking around the hospital gift shop. Some of her roles have included jobs like greeter in the Emergency Department, a clerical volunteer with various departments, Gift Shop Clerk and one of her favorites, making cookies for hospital employees during staff appreciation days. Currently, she serves in the gift shop three hours a week.
“For me, it’s been about the people,” she said, just as an employee wanders into the shop for candy and the two of them joke with one another. “People are generally very nice around here.”
In her professional life more than two decades ago, she was an administrative assistant. “I was a one-girl office, always working by myself, and when I retired, I found I really needed to be around people,” she noted. “I’m fine with my own company, but why would I want to just be around myself all day long?”
In retirement, she and her husband traveled for four years and then she was ready to do something else. A stop in the hospital where she saw a volunteer in action made her want to sign up to help. “I started right away,” she said.
She is looking forward to the opening of the new hospital. Phase one of the new building is set to open on Jan. 31, with phase two of the project expected to be finished in early 2020.
When the new building opens, Mazzeo will serve as the lead for a brand-new position with a Guest Assistance Desk, helping to direct patients and visitors to the right location. “I think that will be a lot of fun,” she said with a wide grin.
She hopes others from within the community will decide to join her as volunteers. The hospital is currently seeking volunteers for all positions. Training for the new hospital begins soon.
“I urge people to give volunteering at the hospital a try,” she said. “Try out different jobs until you find the one that you like best. It’s a good atmosphere, and you’ll enjoy the interaction with people and the things you’ll learn.”
Learn more about volunteering at Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital by attending an upcoming volunteer information open house, on Thursday, Oct. 25, or Monday, Nov. 12, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the hospital’s Education Conference Room located on the first floor of the current hospital. For additional information, call SPCH Volunteer Coordinator Melissa Maxon at 541-574-2537.