Rewards of volunteering


From: David Forest

In 1997 when I had just moved to Winona to be with Carole Pehler, who soon became Carole Pehler-Forest, I knew no one else. Carole was about to begin a three-year term as president elect, president, and past president of the Community Memorial Hospital Auxiliary. She was looking for someone to take her place as chair of the telecare service. I said, “If you can’t find anyone, I’ll do it,” and of course she quit looking.

What a great way to meet other dedicated people, make friends, and serve the community! Looking back, I have been on the auxiliary (now the volunteer board) for all but a few months of my time since moving here, including a term as the only male president after 124 years of service to the community.

Carole has also volunteered at hospice, has had a table at Holiday Happiness and worked in the gift shop. Carole and I have both volunteered at several desk positions and health care directives. We also served two years as legislative issues chair for hospitals and nursing homes for the Health Care Auxiliaries of Minnesota (HCAM). This involved setting up a Legislative Day and legislator visits and informing the 30,000 members of HCAM on health care issues. A highlight of this position is a trip to the American Hospital Association convention in Washington, D. C., and a visit to every Minnesota legislator.

Carole is still active with telecare, making personalized birthday and holiday cards, and making monthly calling schedules. I am still on the board as chair of the telecare service, am a health care directives facilitator, and make rhubarb jam to give out at the telecare spring party.

We attended the Hats Off to our Volunteers recognition and appreciation celebration expecting Carole’s 8,000 hours of volunteer service award to be our highlight of the event. We were both speechless when hearing our name as recipients of the Legacy Award.

Thank you Winona Health Volunteer Services. While we are awed and honored by the award, the good feeling we get from helping others is the main reward we get from volunteering.


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