Brookwood Baptist Health Blog

Stories and tips for a healthy lifestyle

Meet Our Shelby Baptist Volunteers

Nov 16, 2018

Meet Peggy Wert: 28 Years of Service

Peggy WertWhat brought Peggy Wert to Shelby Baptist Medical Center was an unfortunate circumstance, but what keeps her at Shelby is something she will always treasure - her dedication to volunteering.

“I brought my daughter to Shelby in the 1970s when she was very sick and everyone was so nice,” she said. “Everyone knew all about Karen and asked constantly how she was doing.”

Peggy is one of the first faces you see when you walk through the doors of Shelby Baptist. Like many, if you are looking around for directions, Peggy is the first to ask, “Can I help you find something?”

She serves at the information desk also in various other capacities in the last 28 years. Peggy says that over time she and the other volunteers have become very close - so close they even go to lunch with the Tuesday volunteer group.

After helping so many people over the years, Peggy mentioned a funny story she remembered about when a young girl came looking for her grandmother and wanted to know the room number.

“The little girl said ‘I want to visit my grandma’ and I asked her what’s her grandmother’s name and the girl said, ‘Grandma Irene,’” Peggy remembers. “I asked ‘Well, what’s her last name?’ and the little girl said ‘Well, I don’t know. I just always call her Grandma Irene.’”

Peggy has helped many patients over the years. Whether it is pointing patients and visitors in the right direction, answering the phone pleasantly or tracking down “Grandma Irene,” Peggy is surely one of Shelby’s finest volunteers!

We thank you, Ms. Peggy, for your service!

Meet Shirley Harrison: 21 Years of Service

Shirley HarrisonIn 21 years, a lot can change. Volunteer Shirley Harrison said Shelby Baptist has seen growth over the years, as evidenced by the current construction as well as the number of hospital volunteers.

“I can recall when there was around 20 of us and now there are 69 volunteers,” she said.

Shirley has been a “volunteer of all trades” at Shelby Baptist, moving from counting money out of candy machines to doing charts for the nursing mothers. She has served in surgery waiting, the front desk and other areas.

After retiring, Shirley decided she was not going to sit around, but was going to stay active.

“I enjoy working with people,” she said.

Shirley said she has seen the impact volunteers can make on the patients families during difficult times.

“It’s important to be comforting to patients’ families, say, if a doctor has delivered some bad news,” she said. “People see us in our jackets and know we are here to help.”

On Dec. 28, Shirley will celebrate her 50th anniversary with her husband, who also helps her if the candy machines need any maintenance. Shirley makes sure the machines are filled and money is counted and turned in as an ongoing fundraiser for the hospital.

Thanks so much Shirley! We appreciate you!

Meet Virginia Barksdale: 8 Years of Service

Virginia BarksdaleWith a family of doctors and nurses, Virginia has finally entered the medical field … just in a different way.

Among those who are medical-minded in Virginia’s family is her son, but Virginia says medicine was not her calling.

“After retirement, I felt a strong calling to minister to people,” she said.

Virginia was encouraged to volunteer by one of her friends.

“My friend and I came in (to Shelby Baptist) to learn more. My friend lasted one day and here I am, eight years later,” she said with a chuckle.

Patients can find Virginia’s pleasant smile in the surgery waiting room on Tuesdays. She enjoys volunteering because she is able to help people.

“It means so much to me to be able to give to the people that come in and to the employees who work here,” she said. “It truly is a ministry.”

One thing about Virginia is her spirit of discernment.

Volunteering in surgery waiting, there are many times patients or families receive news that can be unsettling.

“I remember when a patient was told he had cancer and needed to undergo further testing. It stood out to me that they just needed someone to talk to, so I went over to visit with them,” she said.

Thank you so much for your service, Virginia! We appreciate you!

Meet Mary Beth Cunningham: 10 Years of Service

Mary Beth CunninghamFor Mary Beth, positive peer pressure brought her to Shelby Baptist Medical Center.

“I have a good friend who is a volunteer here,” Mary Beth said. “After my kids were all grown and married, I decided to take my friend’s advice and volunteer.”

Mary Beth was always the volunteer parent when her children were in school and she has brought that same spirit to Team Shelby.

She assists in the Cath Lab with taking patients back to the prep areas and directing them on how to get ready. Mary Beth then brings the family back at the proper time.

“If a family doesn’t get good news, I am able to put my arm around them and pray with them,” she said. “I just pay attention and pick up on that,” she said.

There is always a need for volunteers around the hospital to help with various projects and Mary Beth sums up her reason for volunteering as this: “It’s selfish.”

“It makes me feel good,” she says. “At the end of the day, the things we do for these patients and their families, I just say to myself I would want someone to help me.”

Meet Larry Loyacano: 11 Years of Service

Larry Loyacano“The Lord has blessed me, so I’m just giving a little bit back,” Larry Loyacano said.

Larry serves at Shelby Baptist in a variety of different roles. He helps key in time reports, with scheduling, assists in PACU and more.

He is at Shelby Baptist anywhere from three to four days a week and helps with special events at the hospital, such as the jewelry sale.

Those who know Larry describe him as such a joy and say he brings a contagious energy to those around him.

Thank you Larry for all you do! We are thankful for you.