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Greenwich Daily Voice serves Greenwich, CT

She's Given the Hospital Her All

Greenwich Hospital volunteer Barbara Fisher has been contributing her services since the 1940s. She has seen old friends and made new ones during her time, but despite her age, she wouldn't want to be anywhere else but the hospital.

Fisher starting working at the hospital as a nurses aid during World War II. The longtime volunteer now donates her time as a desk assistant.

Volunteers are an integral part of the day-to-day functions at the Greenwich Hospital, says Stacey Green, director of volunteer services. Those who can commit three hours or more a week can apply. Once admitted, volunteers must complete orientation and training seminars.

In addition to escorting patients to testing areas, comforting family members waiting on loved ones, delivering mail and gifts to patients and providing "comfort care" to patients, volunteers also support clerical needs in different departments. They're involved with all aspects of the hospital, including staffing the gift shop, organizing donations at the thrift shop and welcoming visitors.

Some, like Lewis Hochberg, are Emergency Room volunteers -- a serious job that Hochberg says involves intense training. "Not everyone is cut out for the ER. You need to have a feeling for it."

The benefits of volunteering at the hospital include the usual camaraderie among staff and other volunteers, but in Greenwich, volunteers also receive some perks. These include free hospital parking, discounts on purchases in the gift and thrift shops, subsidized membership at the Center for Healthy Living after six months of volunteering, access to educational seminars hosted by the hospital as well as membership in the Greenwich Hospital Auxiliary.

Those interested in volunteering should visit the volunteer page of the Greenwich Hospital Web site. An application, background check form and Fair Credit Report Act release form must be completed and submitted to the volunteer services department of the hospital.

Additionally, there are spaces for 14- to 18-year-old volunteers. To inquire, call the volunteer services department at (203) 863-3222.

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