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UPMC McKeesport honors its volunteers

| Thursday, April 18, 2013, 1:46 a.m.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Merle Taylor, Cynthia M. Dorundo and Deacon Dale DiSanto congratulate honorees, in the foreground, Eleanor Waltower, Evelyn Nehas and Terry Tkac during the UPMC McKeesport volunteer luncheon.

About 100 volunteers give their time in a variety of ways every day at UPMC McKeesport.

They were the guests of honor at the hospital's annual volunteer luncheon on Wednesday, when several were honored for reaching a milestone in hours served.

Eleanor Waltower, Evelyn Nehas and Terry Tkac were recognized for more than 100 hours. Waltower and Tkac work in the Volunteer Office and Patient Services, and Nehas serves in the Emergency Department.

Linda Meredith and Steve Hranic were recognized for their hours but were unable to attend. She has more than 100 hours in the Volunteer Office and Patient Services and he has more than 1,000 hours in the Community Outreach Program.

The luncheon was in conjunction with National Volunteer Week, which is Sunday through April 27. This year's theme is “Volunteers — Making a Difference in the Lives of Others.”

“Every day is a celebration of our volunteers,” the hospital's director of marketing and public relations James Spindler said. “You make this a true center of healing.”

Deacon Dale DiSanto opened the festivities by assuring the men and women that what they do is important and makes a difference.

“You are here doing some pretty meaningless things, but those things are very important,” DiSanto said. “You mingle with patients, ask them if they want a newspaper, say ‘hi, how are you?' You are on the front lines every day and people recognize you by the red coats. God has blessed you and you are a gift to this hospital.”

Barb Knight is the Thursday coordinator for the volunteers and has been giving her time for about 13 years.

“I just wanted to do something to give back to the community,” she said. “I really enjoy this. Some people don't want to go into patient rooms, but there are plenty of jobs to do that you never have to see patients. Everyone should do some kind of volunteer work.”

Among the volunteer opportunities are putting together welcome and activity packets for patients, delivering menus and helping patients fill them out, being on-call for errands for patients, delivering newspapers, working with the Golden Key Club, and doing various work in departments such as the GI unit and the diabetes center.

Hospital president Cynthia M. Dorundo told the volunteers that the annual luncheon is a chance for administrators to “say thank you for all you do for the hospital.”

“Each and every day you exemplify what it means to volunteer,” Dorundo said. “You make personal sacrifices to be here and you enhance our patients' experiences and we thank you.”

Vice president of operations Merle Taylor told the group that the “smiling faces you bring to the patients are invaluable. You all probably volunteer for different reasons, but whatever the reason we appreciate it.”

Throughout the luncheon, Larry Maglicco offered back massages and Donna Groom provided musical entertainment.

The Volunteer Services department will host an open house on Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for anyone interested in volunteering at the hospital. It will be in the 1 Crawford conference room and will feature information about the opportunities available. Refreshments will be served.

Anyone interested in volunteering at UPMC McKeesport can call volunteer coordinator Patrick Fisher at 412-664-6722.

Carol Waterloo Frazier is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1916, or