TOPEkA, Kan. (WIBW) - No one really likes to go to the hospital, but Richard Allen aims to make it a little easier for visitors at Stormont-Vail HealthCenter's infusion clinic.
The retired educator started volunteering there three years ago. He says he and his wife Mary always received their care at Stormont and Cotton-O'Neil facilities - even from Drs. Cotton and O'Neil themselves - so he said that if he was in good health and had the chance, he would give back by volunteering at the hospital.
Richard is among the 500 volunteers who give nearly 50,000 hours of service each year to Stormont. They are utilized in more than 65 areas of the organization, adding a personal touch, while, from a practical standpoint, helping to keep care costs down. Richard's duties, for example, include ensuring the infusion treatment rooms are kept clean and properly stocked with supplies.
"They give us quite a bit of responsibility and expect us to carry out the responsibilities," he said.
It's the responsibilities with the people Richard likes best. He says people don't come to the unit because they're feeling fine, so it's his job as a volunteer to get them as comfortable as they can be, whether that's getting them a pillow or cup of coffee, or simply taking time for a smile or pat on the back.
Seeing those smiles returned or hearing a simple thanks is all the pay Richard needs.
"It's just a reward to contribute something back to the community," he said.