Jefferson Regional volunteers downplay individual achievements
A tap on her shoulder years ago set a new direction for Thresa Yerman of Whitehall.
At her church, St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin, a friend suggested she become a Eucharistic minister.
Now, 25 years later, Yerman, 85, has been honored for bringing her ministry to Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Jefferson Hills and sharing 4,045 hours with the sick.
Also among the 300 volunteers honored at the April 9 luncheon at South Hills Country Club was Dick Bower of Baldwin, donated 4,015 hours over the last 20 years. In 2013, the volunteers contributed 41,991 hours.
Yerman and Bower earned the President's Volunteer Service Award, which recognized their contributions of time and talent.
Having worked as a nurse, another hospital was a natural place for Yerman to extend herself after she retired. She chose the fourth floor at the hospital to deliver Communion and offer prayers on Sunday mornings. Often, she said, the patients' visitors join in the devotion.
Yerman also volunteers with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust at the Byham Theater, where she greeted audiences for 70 performances last year. She said she hopes to stay with the hospital for another three or four years.
It's taken her some time, but she finally persuaded her husband to join her as a hospital volunteer. Their three children were proud of her accomplishment, although Yerman didn't believe the tally of her volunteer time.
“I almost told them, ‘You made a mistake,'” she said.
Bower first volunteered at Jefferson as an escort, then in the surgical center and finally at the information desk in the main lobby.
“He's quite a people person,” said Phyllis Boykin, director of customer and volunteer services at the hospital. “He makes a good first impression.”
Bower, 85, enjoys the contact with the patients that he had at the surgical center.
He took an early retirement at 57 from the Baldwin-Whitehall School District, where he taught physical education at the junior-high level for 32 years.
“I wanted to do something,” he said, “but I wasn't interested in the money.”
Jefferson was a good place to start. He hopes to continue for years to come, giving four hours every week. There's time enough to enjoy his three children, four grandchildren and three “grand-dogs,” he said.
Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.