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Giving Back and Doing Something for Someone

Every Wednesday morning, Ardell hops in her car and drives the 40 miles east from Canon City to Pueblo to volunteer at Parkview Medical Center.

At 80, Ardell has been volunteering with Parkview since 2002.

“I think I wanted to give back and do something for someone,” she said. “I think it’s important not to stay in the house and vegetate.”

For Ardell, volunteering at Parkview is a homecoming of sorts.  She graduated from nursing school in 1958 and spent much of her career in Monte Vista, but her first year out of school was spent in Parkview.

Ardell and her husband both are native Puebloans and the couple moved back to Pueblo after her husband began to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.

Ardell said she started looking for a place to volunteer after her husband died.

“I knew almost every place around needed volunteers in one way or another, so I just checked on (Parkview),” she said.

Since volunteering, she’s done a variety of tasks from delivering newspapers to rooms to working on jobs in the volunteer office. But her favorite duty is escorting people in the hospital.

“I like escorting people, delivering flowers and running errands,” she said. “I get to talk to people that way.”

Ardell also is quick to point out that there are many people who choose to volunteer at Parkview Medical Center.

Ardell Decker and Esther GeierLeft to right: Volunteers Ardell Decker and Esther Geier at the info desk

There currently are 110 volunteers at Parkview Medical Center and the number can swell by another 50 during the summer when the ParkTeen program brings in students as young as 14 from June through August.

Last year, volunteers recorded 19,631 hours at Parkview worth $473,892.

In addition to delivering newspapers and flowers and guiding patients and visitors through the hospital, volunteers can be found working in the Gift Shoppe, maintaining the coffee machines and books and magazines in the hospital waiting rooms, and answering patient and visitor questions at the information desk.

There are volunteer Eucharistic ministers who take Holy Communion to Catholic patients, volunteer knitters and crafters who make teddy bear outfits, lap robes, baby hats, and other items that are often given to patients in the emergency department or pediatric patients, and volunteer clowns who spread cheer to patients in oncology, inpatient rehab and pediatric floors of the hospital.

There are volunteers who cuddle newborns in the nursery and Kidsville ™ pediatric unit and the ParkTeens work alongside patient transport employees and even at the Thatcher Learning Center, watching and playing with the children there.

“Parkview volunteers are a diverse team of men, women and teenagers, coming from many different ages, backgrounds and reasons for volunteering,” said Pam Medina, director of patient relations and volunteer services at Parkview. “The common thread amongst them all, however, is that they want to give of themselves and be productive and busy, they want to be connected with people who need them, they want to meet people and learn something that is helpful and fulfilling, and they want to know that whatever they do here makes a difference for someone in need.”

Ardell has continued to volunteer at Parkview even after she was called to follow her brother and sister-in-law to Canon City a few years ago.

“My faith plays a part in everything in my life,” she said. “My Lord is the most important part of my life and I hope this is a ministry.”

Ardell said she loves volunteering at Parkview because of the friendly and uplifting environment created by the people she works with. While she’s gone from working twice a week to once weekly, Ardell said she has no plans for stopping.

“As long as the Lord gives me strength and I can drive OK, I’ll keep doing it,” she said. “It’s one of my favorite days of the week and I look forward to it.”

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400 West 16th Street, Pueblo, CO 81003