SSH volunteers take pride serving the community

  By Greg Miller
  star staff
  gmiller@starhq.com
  Irene Trivett and Vickie Ford take pride in building relationships and serving the community while volunteering in the Sycamore Shoals Hospital (SSH) gift shop.
  "I enjoy the relationships you get to build with the customers when they come in," said Ford. "It's a fun job. It's something that's very rewarding to you personally."
  Ford says her biggest challenge is remembering that she is a volunteer. "I like to travel a lot, and I'm out of town quite a bit," she said. "I don't like it when I can't be here on my day when I'm supposed to be in here to work. Trying to schedule my appointments and my times that I'm going to be out of town, sometimes gets to be a challenge."
  Trivett has served as a volunteer in the hospital gift shop since 1991. "I've always loved it," she said.
  Trivett said baby-related items are the shop's best sellers, and she and several of the hospital's volunteers crochet blankets and caps for the newborns.
  The most enjoyable part of volunteering in the gift shop, Trivett said, is helping people. "A lot of times, you really get a good blessing in here because the people come in and we start talking about their life and about the Lord and it really blesses you," she said.
  Faith plays an important role in her volunteer work at the hospital. "It seems like you have a good relationship with the people that come in," she said. "You get to know them and where they go to church."
  Ford agreed. "It's a part of being a Christian and acting upon what God tells us He wants us to do," she said. Ford has served as a volunteer at the hospital since February of last year. Her husband, Harry, works at SSH as the customer service patient center care manager.
  Ford wants to see more people serve as volunteers at the hospital, and she said many people "are missing a blessing by not giving of their time and talents" at SSH.
  About 35 people serve as volunteers at SSH, according to Sharon Sheppard, the hospital's Human Resource Manager and Volunteer Coordinator. "About 14 of those work in the gift shop," Sheppard said. Volunteers also serve at the reception desk and the information desk.
  Most volunteers work three-hour shifts between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., and additional volunteers are always needed. "We always have a need for volunteers that are willing to work in various areas of the hospital," Sheppard said. Volunteers can also serve on nursing units and in waiting areas.
  The profits from gift shop sales are poured back into such projects as the Healing Garden and furnishings for the new chapel that was installed about two years ago. "They're getting ready to buy a new $1,300 dollar wheelchair for the hospital," Sheppard said.
  The gift shop is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and sells a variety of product lines, including Burt's Bees, bareMinerals, U.T. items, "Designer Look" handbags, and Camille Beckman.
  Trivett has volunteered more than 5,000 hours at SSH. She serves as the hospital auxiliary's president. Ford began has logged more than 100 hours as a volunteer. She is the auxiliary's vice president and president-elect. SSH volunteers gave more than 7,400 hours of their time in 2003.
  For more information about the hospital's volunteer program, call 542-1338 or e-mail sheppardsf@msha.com.