By Mercy’s John Gifford
Before she joined the volunteer auxiliary at Mercy Hospital El Reno (formerly Parkview Hospital) in 1989, Myrtle Chapman was a home economics teacher at El Reno High School. Had she wanted to, however, she could have taught investing because she understands that small contributions, over time, can produce significant rewards.
Contributions like the hours of service she and the other members of the volunteer auxiliary contribute to the hospital each week.
“We work different hours, depending on what we’re doing,” Myrtle said. “The ladies working the hospital floor might work only an hour or two at a time, but those in the specialty clinic might work six-hour shifts.”
And these increments of time add up. Myrtle said last year the nine-member volunteer auxiliary contributed approximately 3,500 hours of service to the hospital.
“That’s not bad for nine little ladies, is it?” she said.
Doug Danker, administrator of Mercy Hospital El Reno agrees.
“From helping patients find their way in the hospital, to generally brightening everyone’s days, our volunteers play vital roles at Mercy Hospital El Reno,” said Danker. “Myrtle is one of the volunteers we’re so grateful for.”
Ranging in age from 55 to over 80, volunteers are involved in many areas throughout Mercy Hospital El Reno, and the nearby El Reno Community Clinic, which Mercy supports.
“We take fresh water to patients and we have someone who comes around with a snack cart with pop and juice, and cookies and crackers,” Myrtle said. “The patients enjoy us coming by and we enjoy serving them.”
Other responsibilities include helping with patient registration, taking charts to the clinical areas, escorting patients to the lab, and generally greeting visitors and interacting with the public.
Myrtle said volunteering gives her the opportunity to interact with others while serving the community. “The hospital is a vital part of the community, and we’re a vital part of the hospital. I love it.”
But this isn’t all they do. At Mercy Hospital El Reno, the volunteers also contribute to facility improvements.
“We raise money through vending machines here at the hospital,” Myrtle said. “This money goes back into the hospital to help buy new equipment.”
All those quarters add up. Over the years, the volunteer auxiliary has purchased things like new rehabilitation equipment and some special patient beds. It also decorated the old obstetrics department, which holds a special place in Myrtle’s memory.
“I made curtains for the department,” she said. “Then we bought bed spreads, shams, covered some chairs and just helped decorate. We provided many things for the department before it closed.”
Things like a new fetal monitor; neo-puffs and infant warmers; knitted booties, blankets and hats; framed pictures for the walls; and even a Spanish class for the OB provider.
It all adds up: to a hospital that’s equipped to care for the community.
“The volunteers are the core of the rural hospital,” said Barbara Danker, a Mercy nurse who began her career in the El Reno hospital. “They’re a great group of women who care about the hospital and community.”
Mercy invites applications from those interested in joining the volunteer auxiliary. Simply visit Mercy Hospital El Reno at 2115 Parkview Drive or call 405-262-2640.