SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Area Hospital Volunteers Heal With Smiles, Compassion, Positive Attitude

By  //  November 13, 2017

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Delicious Digg This Stumble This

CENTRAL FLORIA HUMANITARIANS

ABOVE VIDEO: They help heal with smiles and compassion. Their cheerful and positive attitude can go a long way when patients and family members are under stress. They deliver hope. They often help shape a patient’s first impression of a hospital. Meet some of Brevard’s best hospital volunteers.

Providing Dedicated, Compassionate and Conscientious Service Across the Healthcare Community

They are often the first point of contact for patients and visitors to a hospital. Their smiling faces help put us at ease as they guide us through the confusing journey that can be hospital visit or stay.

On April 2, 2011, the first day Viera Hospital was open for business, Sharon and Harald Jacobsen were already at their posts.

On April 2, 2011, the first day Viera Hospital was open for business, Sharon Harald Jacobsen was already at the job. (Keith Betterley image)

They are surrogate relatives for lonely patients, helping make their hospital stay more bearable. They bring comfort to families under stress.

For hospital administrators, particularly during this battened-down economy, they are heaven sent, for they perform duties that would be costly to duplicate with paid staff.

These unofficial ambassadors for healthcare organizations are also happy to sing the praises of the hospital they themselves so love.

They help heal with smiles and compassion. Their cheerful and positive attitude can go a long way when patients and family members are under stress. They deliver hope. They often help shape a patient’s first impression of a hospital. They are the volunteers.

They share their love, experience and time with patients, visitors, staff and administrators. They are the hospital volunteers.

They help heal with smiles and compassion. Their cheerful and positive attitude can go a long way when patients and family members are under stress. They deliver hope. They often help shape a patient’s first impression of a hospital. They are the volunteers.

They work without pay in a variety of healthcare settings, where they are critically important members of the healing team, benefitting patients, visitors and the healthcare system they serve.

Meet some of Brevard’s best hospital volunteers.

BETTYE PITCOCK – Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center

Even a stroke hasn’t stopped Bettye Pitcock from volunteering at Health First Holmes Regional Medical Center.

After a stroke sidelined her this past June, Pitcock, who just turned 90, realized she could no longer drive to her post at the Melbourne hospital that she has served for the past 14 years. She didn’t miss a beat. Pitcock quickly arranged for fellow volunteers to pick her up on their way to the hospital and her daughter brings her back home.

Even a stroke hasn’t stopped Bettye Pitcock from volunteering at Health First Holmes Regional Medical Center. After a stroke sidelined her this past June, Pitcock, who just turned 90, realized she could no longer drive to her post at the Melbourne hospital that she has served for the past 14 years. She didn’t miss a beat. Pitcock quickly arranged for fellow volunteers to pick her up on their way to the hospital and her daughter brings her back home.

“I’m a rolling stone, I gather no moss,” said the Melbourne resident.

Fiercely independent, Pitcock has no idea how many hours she puts in at Holmes each year, but Auxiliary records show that at last count she had provided 22,676 hours to the medical center.

This past Auxiliary president has worked in multiple services that include patient discharge, courtesy cart driver and lobby greeter. As lead for the Auxiliary monthly fundraising, she helps the Auxiliary raise money to provide scholarships for high school graduates pursuing a career in healthcare.

The Maryland native had wanted to become a nurse, but life got in the way and she had to shelve those plans. She raised seven children and worked as a kindergarten teacher and bookkeeper, at the same time that she was involved in her brood’s many activities.

Before joining the Holmes Auxiliary, for 19 years Pitcock was one of the friendly faces that greet patrons of the King Center for the Performing Arts and she also assisted with the dinners the venue once offered at its Black Box Theatre.

“I enjoyed every minute of it, but there came a time when I was no longer able to climb the stairs, so I knew it was time to quit,” she said.

Pitcock and two of her friends decided to lend their services to Holmes. One has since passed away and the other, with failing health, opted to move north to be with her daughter. Pitcock remains.

In her patient discharge duties, Pitcock ascertains that a volunteer is ready to help the patient leave the hospital. If no volunteer is available at the time, no worries, for Pitcock is at the ready.

“If we get backed up, I don’t hesitate to go,” she said.

For Pitcock, volunteering is a way of paying forward.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have had very good health until recently,” she said. “I’ve had a great run.”

WANDA LOPEZ – Health First’s Palm Bay Hospital

Folks at Health First Palm Bay Hospital praise volunteer Wanda Lopez for her “kind and gentle spirit.”

Lopez, who joined the Auxiliary in 2010, is chair of the Patient Enhancement Team, the volunteers who help a hospital stay more bearable with their kindness and concern.

Folks at Health First Palm Bay Hospital praise volunteer Wanda Lopez for her “kind and gentle spirit.” Lopez, who joined the Auxiliary in 2010, is chair of the Patient Enhancement Team, the volunteers who help a hospital stay more bearable with their kindness and concern.

“I visit each room to chat with the patient, offer them a magazine or a book and coffee or water,” said Lopez. “I also restock the cabinets with gloves, gauze, alcohol and other items that the staff may need.”

The Palm Bay resident is genuinely interested in the patients she serves.

“I like to make them feel comfortable,” she said. “A lot of the time they’re alone and just want someone to talk to.”

It is natural for Lopez to care for others, for the Brooklyn native is definitely a people person who worked for Metropolitan Life Insurance in Manhattan before moving to Brevard 14 years ago.

In her seven years of volunteer service, Lopez has touched the lives of thousands of patients and their families, leaving a lasting, positive memory with everyone she meets. Although she is disabled, she has been able to devote almost 3,000 hours of her time to the hospital.

“I like helping people and I wanted to give back to the community,” she said. “I’ve been fortunate that I haven’t had to go in the hospital, but I know that patients can feel scared. I want to help them feel at ease.”

She certainly knows how to calm jangled nerves. Every Monday, she is at her post, smiling. Always cheerful, Lopez is warm and engaging, easily connecting with the patients and with her volunteer team. The staff at Palm Bay Hospital consider her a great blessing.

Lopez also has a connection with the Health First family that goes well beyond her volunteer service.
“My daughter is a surgical technologist in the labor and birth department at Holmes Regional,” said the proud mother.

ANDY JONES – Wuesthoff – Melbourne

Andy Jones, Wuesthoff Medical Center Melbourne’s Volunteer of the Year, knows all too well what patients feel when they approach a hospital setting.

“Part of the reason I decided to volunteer at Wuesthoff is the number of times I have personally been in the hospital,” said the West Melbourne resident who has been a “frequent flyer” at the Steward Health Care-owned hospital on Wickham Road, as well as at the Heart Center of Health First Holmes Regional Medical Center.

Andy Jones, Wuesthoff Medical Center Melbourne’s Volunteer of the Year, knows all too well what patients feel when they approach a hospital setting.

Serious heart issues, including open heart surgery, has made Jones an expert in the range of emotions patients feel when in the hospital.

“It has been a difficult recovery for me, so I know what some of them are going through,” he said.
He figures that if his volunteer efforts make even one patient feel a little better, then it is well worth the time and talent he gives to Wuesthoff on a weekly basis.

Jones spends one day a week behind the scenes organizing some of the tried-and-true hospital supplies such as gauze, gloves and needles according to the needs of Wuesthoff’s many departments. Keeping these necessities at the ready helps hospital staff do their jobs without skipping a beat.

On another day each week, you will find Jones at the front lines, either on Floor Two or Three, greeting patients and providing water and snacks for them and replenishing supplies for the nursing staff.

“In some cases, patients just want someone to talk to,” he said. “I see my volunteer work as a goodwill effort to make patients feel better.”

Jones’ own health problems sealed his decision to retire in 2012 from his job as an estimator for an Atlanta electrical contractor. He moved to Brevard after his wife’s company relocated the couple.

He served for three terms on the West Melbourne City Council, but these days Wuesthoff Medical Center Melbourne is the focus of his volunteer efforts.

While his organizational skills are invaluable for Wuesthoff, perhaps even more important is the empathy Jones feels for all patients.

“I talk and I listen to whatever it is they want to say,” he said.

DON PANKEY – Health First’s Viera Hospital

Leave it to an engineer to get things done in a methodical and timely manner.

Don Pankey, Viera Hospital’s Volunteer of the Year, is such an engineer and one of the three go-to guys, all engineers, who work in the office of volunteer management.

Leave it to an engineer to get things done in a methodical and timely manner. Don Pankey, Viera Hospital’s Volunteer of the Year, is such an engineer and one of the three go-to guys, all engineers, who work in the office of volunteer management.

“Typically, engineers are organized and understand process,” said Pankey, whose career in quality and productivity improvement took him to Harris Corporation plants around the world. “We would be traveling at least 65 percent of the time,” said the Suntree resident.

After leaving Harris, Pankey struck it out on his own, helping with projects for companies such as Merck and Raytheon. Now semi-retired, he enjoys the opportunity to give back to the community.

A big fan of Health First Pro Health & Fitness in Viera, Pankey was somewhat familiar with neighboring Viera Hospital. Three years ago, when fellow Harris engineer and last year’s Viera Hospital’s Volunteer of the Year Phil Burroughs suggested he try volunteering at the hospital, Pankey agreed.

“Before I became an engineer, I was a pre-med student, so I have a fondness for medicine,” he said.

Although his shift should entail four to five hours on Tuesdays and Fridays, he finds he spends almost the entire two days a week at the hospital. There is just so much to do!

He tracks new volunteers, examines turnover rate, and, on the first Tuesday of the month, he helps with orientation for new volunteers.

“I’ll also take them on a tour of the hospital,” he said. “On the first Thursday of the month, the hospital also hosts a tour for the public, and I’m one of the tour guides.”

Pankey is also in charge of the volunteers’ newsletter and visits patients to explain Health First Connects, which enhances the patient experience.

When the holidays come around, Pankey helps with the Christmas tree lighting.

He’s even gotten in touch with his inner artist for the hospital, helping to design the special scarecrow that was part of the

Viera Scarecrow Stroll, which pits area businesses and organizations in a scarecrow-making competition.

“We won first place last year,” he said. “This has been a lot of fun.”

ROSE MARIE BAGWELL – Wuesthoff – Rockledge

Rose Marie Bagwell has had more than her share of tragedy in her life, but from her grief, she distilled a resolve to help others.

The 2017 Volunteer of the Year from Wuesthoff Medical Center Rockledge, Bagwell can be found every Friday morning at the hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center, where she checks in patients, keeping track that they’re on track.

Rose Marie Bagwell has had more than her share of tragedy in her life, but from her grief, she distilled a resolve to help others. The 2017 Volunteer of the Year from Wuesthoff Medical Center Rockledge, Bagwell can be found every Friday morning at the hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center, where she checks in patients, keeping track that they’re on track.

“I make sure they are directed to the right department,” said the Cocoa resident, who began volunteering at Wuesthoff since 2010, a year after her husband, Dr. William Bagwell, passed away.

In 2001, Bagwell’s daughter, Tracey Lynn Bagwell, who worked for the Division of Children and Families, was murdered by a co-worker.

“She was just 35 and a single mom working three jobs to help her 17-year-old daughter,” said Bagwell.

Bagwell did not want Tracey to be forgotten, so she created the Tracey Bagwell Foundation to benefit the Children’s Home Society. The organization raised half a million dollars for the organization that assists neglected or abused children.

“Tracey always wanted to help the kids,” she said.

A native of New Jersey, Bagwell grew up in Florida. Helping others has always been part of her DNA. While living in Miami, she worked at Jackson Memorial Hospital in order to earn her nurse’s cap, but love got in the way of her education.

“I met my first husband and moved to West Virginia with him, so I never finished the program,” she said.

She returned to Florida, this time to Brevard County, in 1965. Single again, she took a job in the dental office of Dr. William Bagwell. The rest, as they say, is history.

“We got married in 1975 and raised five kids, two of mine and three of his,” said Bagwell.

Bagwell first became acquainted with Wuesthoff Medical Center when she and her husband would visit every Friday to treat the dental issues of patients. She still visits every Friday, but now as a volunteer.

As current vice president of the Auxiliary, Bagwell has her hands full.

“It takes a lot of your time,” she said. “It’s a full-time job.”

With seven grandkids and her work at Wuesthoff, Bagwell has precious little time for herself, but that is the way she likes it.

DIANA CLANG – Sebastian River Medical Center

With Diana Clang, it’s “once a nurse, always a nurse.” Clang, Sebastian River Medical Center’s Volunteer of the Year, was a nurse during her working years.

However, when she retired 12 years ago from her nursing job in New Hampshire, she had no intention of continuing in a hospital environment, but it seems the love of medicine was part of her genetic makeup. Her husband suggested she give hospital volunteering a try. It proved a perfect fit.

With Diana Clang, it’s “once a nurse, always a nurse.” Clang, Sebastian River Medical Center’s Volunteer of the Year, was a nurse during her working years. However, when she retired 12 years ago from her nursing job in New Hampshire, she had no intention of continuing in a hospital environment, but it seems the love of medicine was part of her genetic makeup. Her husband suggested she give hospital volunteering a try. It proved a perfect fit.

“Whenever I walk down the hallways of the hospital, I just feel I’m home,” said the Sebastian resident.
For seven years, Clang has been one of Sebastian River’s most valued helpers.

“Diana has been an outstanding volunteer who has provided great leadership as the chairman of the messenger volunteers,” said Anthony Gabriel of the hospital’s Volunteer Services Department.

“She is dedicated to exceptional service and it shows, as she has compassion to bring out the best in her team. She sets a great example of teamwork!”

Clang began volunteering as one of the hospital messengers, the folks who serve as conduit between the many departments in a hospital.

She also makes favors to cheer up patients in the hospital during any holiday. She additionally is the smiling face that greets all visitors to the hospital, but she remains chair of the messengers. Her vantage point has given her a unique perspective on her messenger colleagues.

“I see these tiny ladies pushing the wheelchairs of 300-pound patients and they never stop smiling,” she said. “They will do anything they can to help. It has really touched me. I’m so proud to be associated with them.”

Her job at the front desk has made Clang an expert not just of the hospital, but of the community at large.

“The patients come in for tests or pre-op and you can see they’re quite scared, so you do your best to keep them calm and let them know where everything is, so they have no surprises,” she said.

“You’ll also be surprised at some of the questions we get. We get people coming in off the street asking us where the best restaurants are. We’re really quite informed now!”

DAVID KERR – Health First’s Cape Canaveral Hospital

From the time he was a kid, David Kerr has enjoyed helping others.

“Even when I was eight or nine, I remember wanting to do whatever I could to help others,” said the Cape Canaveral resident.
After his retirement, friends suggested he become a volunteer at Health First Cape Canaveral Hospital.

From the time he was a kid, David Kerr has enjoyed helping others. “Even when I was eight or nine, I remember wanting to do whatever I could to help others,” said the Cape Canaveral resident. After his retirement, friends suggested he become a volunteer at Health First Cape Canaveral Hospital.

“They gave me good advice, because I’m right where I ought to be,” said Kerr. “This hospital is the perfect place for me.”
At the age of 80, he suffered a broken hip that required surgery, and through sheer will, came back stronger than ever to continue serving others as a voluteer.

A hospital volunteer since February of 2008, Kerr spends five or six hours three or four times a week serving as chair of the

Medical Plaza desk, providing leadership to 25-plus fellow volunteers and positive connections to patients, visitors and staff.

“He models exceptional customer service because that is just who he is,” said Marcia Phillips, manager of volunteer services for Health First. “David is loved by everyone who has the opportunity to interact with him.”

Kerr makes sure the Medical Plaza desk is staffed properly and that all individuals discharged from outpatient procedures have an escort to get them safely to their transportation back home. He also sorts and delivers the facility’s mail once a week.

The Plaza houses a plethora of medical offices, plus the lab, to boot, so Kerr is always on point whenever patients and other visitors have questions. In fact, he has a “Kerr’s Army” of regular patients who always look for him.

“Some of them come in on a weekly basis,” he said. “I like it that they know I’ll take good care of them.”

This model volunteer will be forever grateful to the service his favorite hospital provided to his wife, Anne, during her final days in 2001.

“She was there often and they took very good care of her,” he said.

Kerr has repaid that kindness many times over, for to date, he has given more than 4,500 hours of his life to the hospital. After a hard day’s work, he can be very tired, but that’s fine with him.

“It’s a “good tired,” as my wife used to say,” said Kerr. “You look back on your day and all the people you helped and it’s a good feeling.”

TERRY DEAL – Parrish Medical Center

Any hospital in the country would love to claim Parrish Medical Center’s volunteer of many talents Terry Deal as its own.

Deal is indeed the real deal, for three solid years devoting 40 hours of his week each and every week of the year to the Titusville hospital.

Any hospital in the country would love to claim Parrish Medical Center’s volunteer of many talents Terry Deal as its own. Deal is indeed the real deal, for three solid years devoting 40 hours of his week each and every week of the year to the Titusville hospital.

The Mims resident is also highly versatile, always performing an excellent job, whether it be greeting patients at the Cath Lab, installing Lifeline security devices at folks’ homes so they can feel secure in an emergency, doing general clerical work for the Maintenance and Clinical Equipment offices or putting away the mail for the entire hospital.

For his part, Deal thinks he is getting the best of the bargain in his unpaid job.

“There are a bunch of reasons I volunteer,” said Deal. “We all like to help others, but I also like being part of a team. I enjoy the camaraderie.”

His job at the Cath Lab calls for an abundance of empathy for the patients, and Deal doesn’t mind rising before the birds to be at his post by 6:15 in the morning.

“The patients experience a lot of anxiety when they come into the Cath Lab, so it is my duty to help them feel better,” said Deal.

Deal moved to Brevard County in 2008 after a 40-year career with General Motors in Michigan, where he also was involved in several charitable endeavors. His degree in workplace organization has come in very handy at Parrish.

“I like to organize things, so I’m given tasks such as doing the inventory and organization for warehouses and storage rooms at the hospital,” he explained.

Before joining Parrish, he ran the food bank for his church, Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Mims. He still volunteers at the church.

Deal may be the perfect volunteer: knowledgeable, sympathetic, flexible and eager to share of his time and talent for whatever project the hospital needs tackling. To Parrish Medical Center staff, he is a true treasure.

These outstanding hospital volunteers will be honored during the 2017 Central Florida Humanitarian Awards, which will take place Thursday, Nov. 2 at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place, located at 200 Rialto Place in Melbourne, Florida.

FOR MORE INFORMATION or to make a reservation to attend the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards Gala call 321-323-4460 or 321-615-8111 or e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS

The 2017 Central Florida Humanitarians have been announced and include outstanding individuals and organizations from the medical, business, education and governmental communities.

Recognizing Outstanding Individuals & Organizations Who Dedicate Their Time, Talent and Treasure

CENTRAL FLORIDA, USA – The 2017 Central Florida Humanitarians have been announced and include outstanding individuals and organizations from the medical, business, education and governmental communities. 

Also announced was the honoree for the Lifetime Achievement.

The Central Florida Humanitarian honorees will be recognized during a Gala event on Thursday, Nov. 2, at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place in Melbourne, Florida.

The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards were created eight years ago by Space Coast Daily to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that dedicate their time, talent or treasure to help people in need locally – and around the world.

cfha-medal-400

The 2017 Central Florida Humanitarians have been announced and include outstanding individuals and organizations from the medical, business, education and governmental communities. All Humanitarian alumni are presented a specially commissioned medallion.

TIME: In this category consider candidates who have selflessly and consistently devoted their time as volunteers at hospitals and nursing homes, in activities for the less fortunate and as organizers, administrators or operatives in the many other altruistic endeavors in our community.
TALENT: In this category give consideration to those who have volunteered their special talents and expertise to address specific circumstances in which the lives of those in need are improved.
TREASURE: The humanitarians in this category will include those who have generously shared their monetary good fortune and/or volunteered their time and efforts in fund raising for the advancement of a philanthropic cause.

All 2017 honorees will be featured in the Oct/Nov 2017 edition of Space Coast Daily magazine and online at SpaceCoastDaily.com.  The magazine will be available the first week of October in both print and digital editions, which will also be available on SpaceCoastDaily.com.

For the eighth consecutive year, the Central Florida Humanitarian committee will also honor hospital and hospice volunteers from Health First Hospice, the Dr. Jey Pillai Center for Hospice Care at Wasdin Woods, VITAS, Hospice of St. Francis, Health First Cape Canaveral Hospital, Health First Viera Hospital, Health First Holmes Regional Medical Center, Health First Palm Bay Hospital, Wuesthoff Medical Center – Melbourne, Wuesthoff Medical Center – Rockledge, the VA Clinic in Viera, and Sebastian River Medical Center.

ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS SELECTED TO BE HONORED INCLUDE:

ORGANIZATIONS
• BCSO Animal Services
• BCSO Honor Guard
• Brevard Guardian Ad Litem
• BIMDA
• Brevard C.A.R.E.S
• Driven by Heart (formerly Breast Friends)
• Genesis House
• Health First Foundation
• Space Coast Harley-Davidson
• Tess Brady and OASIS
• Total Home Roofing

INDIVIDUALS
• Rosette Brown
• Randy Coleman
• Bill Ellis
• Bjornar and Bjorg Hermansen
• Eugene Johnson
• Adrian Lafitte
• Dr. Romain Onteniente
• Valerie Paul
• Joan Throm
• Robin Whiting
• Steve Wilson
• The 2017 Central Florida Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement honoree is Judge Dean Moxley.

The 2017 Central Florida Humanitarians have been announced and include outstanding individuals and organizations from the medical, business, education and governmental communities.  Each honoree or organization will be presented the Central Florida Humanitarian Crystal Globe.

HONORING SELFLESS VOLUNTEERISM

Dr. Jim Palermo

Dr. Jim Palermo

“Over the years, our editorial team has had the distinct honor and pleasure of identifying and featuring the many members of our community who give back so much and are dedicated to reaching out and helping others, here and throughout the world, in a multitude of ways,” said Space Coast Daily Editor-In-Chief Dr. Jim Palermo.

“For the eight consecutive year, we will once again produce the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards Gala on the first Thursday of November. This year, more than 30 deserving humanitarians will be honored during the Gala.”

The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards will be part of “Space Coast Health Week,” a comprehensive series of health and educational events produced by Space Coast Daily.

JOIN US FOR AN INSPIRATIONAL EVENING

This inspiring and compelling event is sponsored by Florida Tech, Health First, SOAR, BioCellular Therapies, First Choice Medical Group, Clear Choice Health Care, Brevard Geriatrics, Dr. Mark Pinsky, Rock Paper Simple, Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place, Friday Night Locker Room, Safari Mail House, Space Coast Daily magazine and SpaceCoastDaily.com. Each honoree or organization will be presented the Central Florida Humanitarian Crystal Globe.

MALONE-GILES-180-12

Giles Malone

“We would like to thank our long list of sponsors who support the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards and who make this wonderful event possible,” said Giles Malone, a partner with Space Coast Daily and Brevard Productions, who annually produce all the events of Space Coast Medicine Week.

COMPELLING MULTIMEDIA TRIBUTE VIDEOS & STORIES

Stay tuned to Space Coast Daily magazine and SpaceCoastDaily.com for exclusive and comprehensive multimedia coverage of each honoree as we present their compelling stories.

Tom Palermo

Tom Palermo

“Please join us on Thursday, Nov. 2 to celebrate and be inspired by these incredible individuals and groups,” said Space Coast Daily President & Publisher Tom Palermo. 

“In the meantime, please click the link below that showcases the distinguished Central Florida Humanitarian Alumni.”

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN ALUMNI

FOR MORE INFORMATION or to make a reservation to attend the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards Gala call 321-323-4460 or 321-615-8111 or e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com

[gmarker marker_latitude=”” marker_longitud=”” marker_label=””] [/gmarker]

ABOVE MAP: The 2017 Central Florida Humanitarian Awards will take place Thursday, Nov. 2 at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place, located at 200 Rialto Place in Melbourne, Florida.


Click here to contribute your news or announcements Free