Liz Eilf, a volunteer for the past few years of the Lehigh Medical Center Auxiliary, is taking over the reins as president of the Auxiliary for 2012-2014. She replaces long-time outgoing volunteer, Leanore King, 93, who was president from 2010 to 2011 and has spent 31 years as a volunteer giving some 7,196 hours of her time to others.
The ceremony was just held to install the new Lehigh Medical Center Auxiliary Board of Directors.
They include Liz Eilf as president, Regina Raday, treasurer; Kathy Salzer, recorder; Nancy Lentz, secretary; Margarita Wolfson, director; and Evelyn Hart, vice president. Not at the ceremony was Pat Robinson, a new director.
Eilf is no stranger to Lehigh and to volunteering off and on over the years. For several years, she was the executive director of Lehigh Community Services.
"We have a wonderful group of volunteers here at the hospital. They are so important in what they do that what they do helps make the hospital function," Eilf said as she peered down at a list of volunteers' names.
Not only does she volunteer at different posts in the hospital herself, but she must maintain the list of volunteers, their hours, and the places in the hospital where they will volunteer they are assigned.
"That can be all over the hospital," Eilf said.
"I'm volunteering here today at the surgical waiting room. It's my duty to make sure the friends and family members who are here are kept up to date about their loved ones who are undergoing surgery," she said.
Volunteers offer their services in such areas as the front desk, where they may be more visible when visitors arrive at the hospital.
Eilf said they can volunteer to assist in the Emergency Room, Radiology, Accounting, Therapy, the gift shop and on second and third floors to visit the patients.
"They do not interfere in any way with any medical duties. They are here to help the professionals and what they do is important," Eilf said.
For the most part, volunteers put in four-hour shifts once a week. However, Eilf said a few have volunteered more than those hours over a week's period.
"Volunteers help to make the hospital run. We are looking for maybe another dozen volunteers to help us out during the week. Applications can be picked up at the main desk of the hospital which is located at 1500 Lee Blvd.
"One nice perk is that if a volunteer is on duty that his or her four hours, they are able to have a free meal from the hospital," Eilf said.
And while most people may think of volunteers being women in their pink smocks, there are a few men to volunteer their services.
"We call the women our Pink Ladies and our male volunteers our Blue Men. The women can purchase their pink smocks here at the gift shop while the men can purchase their blue 'power blue shirts" anywhere they please," she said.
Dues are $5 for volunteers and are due at the beginning of the year.
Eilf said that Leanore King, the 93-year-old outgoing president and volunteer did a wonderful job over the years. She said the woman probable know as much about what goes in in different areas of the hospital as anyone, she said.
"She's going to retire and enjoy her years," Eilf laughed.
Eilf reminded those who want to volunteer that the pink top must be purchased for $11 in the gift shop. So to start off as a volunteer, it would cost a woman volunteer $16, said.
Volunteers wear the coveted patch of the auxiliary and an identification card at all times while in the hospital.
Volunteers come from all types of backgrounds.
Eilf said one of her volunteers is a college students; while others may be retirees, and still others may be snowbirds from up north.
A background check is done on each person who applies to become a volunteer. Eilf said that is performed by the Human Resources Dept. at LRMC.
Maxine Osborne, who often staffs the gift shop, says she has also volunteered up north. She said her mother was an active volunteer and taught her how important it was to help others.
Eilf noted that volunteers are not medical professional people. They are volunteers who assist the doctors, nurses and staff personnel. They also talk to the patients, take them magazines and things like that, too.
"Our volunteers do everything in their power to make a patient's stay at LRMC as pleasant as possible. They also are there to assist visitors and loved ones in any way they can," Eilf said.
The Auxiliary has been in existence for at least 45 years with its first president as Mrs. Harold Burnside followed by Myda Killen and Mrs. Roy Bombardner, all now deceased.
"Many of those earlier presidents have passed away," Eilf said.
Before Leanore King being president from 2010 to 2011, former presidents include Eileen Adkins, Maria Chevalier/Eileen Adkins, and Borghild Rotondo.
Of the 30 previous past presidents, 14 have passed away, Eilf said.
Before someone becomes a volunteer, they take on a pledge:
"I pledge a loyal and wholehearted service to the hospital and to its patients. I will dignify my service with reliability and understanding. I will hold in confidence whatsoever I may learn in connection with the patients and the hospital.
"I recognize that only the physician is qualified to diagnose and to prescribe; that only the nurse is qualified to perform the arts of the nursing profession. Therefore, I will hold firm to the precept that mine is but the responsibility to assist."
"We have a great group of volunteers. I think that those people who are compassionate and want to help others should consider becoming a volunteer. After all, it only requires four hours a week," Eilf said.