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Celebrating Our Outstanding Volunteers

Thursday, Apr 10, 2014

At Doylestown Hospital, every volunteer is special. Here's a closer look at just a few of these dedicated individuals.

It's Volunteer Week, a time to thank each and every one of our nearly 1,000 adult and teen volunteers, and an opportunity to look at three volunteers who contributed to the total of 124,302 hours our volunteers gave last year.

The Vansants: A couple and a commitment

Midge Vansant started her hospital volunteering mission as a teenage candy striper at Paterson General Hospital in New Jersey. When she and Lloyd moved to Doylestown in 1966 she volunteered at Doylestown Hospital, then located on Belmont Avenue, by pushing the magazine/book/candy cart from room to room.

Midge eventually came to the current hospital and spent 20 years volunteering with Doylestown Hospice services. She visited patients and sent literally thousands of bereavement notes to families whose loved one had passed.

Midge was one of the first Heart-to-Heart volunteers for the Heart Institute (called the Heart Center when it opened in 2000) and Lloyd, who had open-heart surgery in 1989 and again in 2007, followed in her footsteps to become a Heart-to-Heart volunteer in 2002. The Vansants and their fellow volunteers share their personal experiences with heart patients and their families. They answer non-medical questions and address a variety of concerns for patients going through an overwhelming and stressful experience.

"I like that I can help people who are about to have open-heart surgery," says Lloyd, 85. "I try to ease their doubts and worries. I am a living example of what heart surgery can do."

Adds Midge: "I enjoy meeting new people all the time, making new friends with coworkers and Associates alike. I enjoy talking to patients and feel proud when they tell me how wonderful their experience has been. Doylestown Hospital is so forward thinking and strives to bring the community into making the hospital something to be proud of."

In addition to his time with the Heart Institute, Lloyd also volunteers for Patient Transport and substitutes at the Same Day Services desk. Midge, a cancer survivor, substitutes in the Cancer Institute, and works in Same Day Services.

Together the Vansants have dedicated more than 15,000 hours to the hospital, its patients and their families. And that doesn't even take into account the countless hours Midge has devoted to serving on hospital boards and committees.

Without volunteers like the Vansants, Doylestown Hospital wouldn't be what it is today.

Volunteering at Doylestown Hospital is uniquely rewarding, explains Midge: "To me, the volunteer program at Doylestown Hospital is unique and special because volunteers are in almost every area and program at the hospital. We are treated with great respect and made to feel as if we are really contributing to the workings of the hospital."

Lloyd and Midge will represent Doylestown Hospital at the Volunteer of the Year Recognition Event April 10 at Warrington Country Club. Sponsored by the Central Bucks Family YMCA, the event recognizes the area's non-profit exemplary volunteers.

By the way, volunteering must be good for marriage, as there are several married couples who volunteer regularly at the hospital.

The Snack Bar as microcosm of a larger world

People of all ages and backgrounds come to the Snack Bar at Doylestown Hospital for all sorts of different reasons. Joe Postiglione has taken care of many of them.

The 18-year-old Central Bucks West senior started volunteering at the Snack Bar in ninth grade.

"I wanted to get different experiences in different things," says Joe.

In the last few years he has given an amazing 856 hours of service to the hospital.

What he has learned, says Joe, is how to deal with people, how to communicate better. "You get some people who are dealing with all kinds of health issues, some who are not having a good day, some who are lost. You learn skills you can take with you after you're done volunteering."

Joe is also part of the ski club and Heifer Club (taking after Heifer International) at CB West. He also has a part-time job.

Doreen McVaugh, assistant director of Volunteer Services, recognizes these teens have busy schedules but remain committed to the hospital. "They bring joy and energy to the departments they serve. They do a wonderful job, and they show a great deal of maturity. Each of our teens is self-directed and highly motivated. And they get to experience careers they might not otherwise have been exposed to."

Joe's mother, Christine, is a nurse in the Emergency Department. He is one of seven children, three of whom have volunteered at the hospital.

Joe was recently awarded the Volunteer Memorial Leadership Award scholarship. He and 14 other graduating teen volunteers were awarded scholarships this year. Since 1982, a total of $346,250 has been awarded to our talented teen volunteers.

We wish all our teen volunteers the best and thank them and all our volunteers for their dedication and service.

About Doylestown Health

Doylestown Health is a comprehensive healthcare system of inpatient, outpatient and wellness education services connected to meet the health needs of all members of the  local and regional community. Doylestown Hospital, the flagship to Doylestown Health has 232 beds and a Medical Staff of more than 435 physicians in over 50 specialties. An independent nonprofit health system, Doylestown Health is dedicated to providing innovative, patient-centered care for all ages.

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