Hospital volunteer says helping others its own reward

One might find Auxiliary member Cole Miller in the gift shop of the Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center. Or possibly at the front desk. Or maybe at work on his favorite task, delivering the mail, flowers and newspapers to patients.

“It’s just a good experience for people to get out and help other people,” Miller said.

He’s been doing just that for 22 years.

“I came to Danville in 1985 to start up the (R.R.) Donnelley plant. This was my fourth Donnelley location and I retired here,” Miller said. “I’ve been volunteering for 22 years — right after I retired.”

He also volunteers for the Bluebird Market, which benefits the Wilderness Trace Child Development Center.

“I pick up goods that people donate and unload them at the market. All the sales at the market go to the child development center — I drive the big green truck,” Miller said. “It’s just enjoyable to help bring in more funds to keep the center running.”

Besides volunteering, Miller said he likes to be outdoors, gardening, and boating in the summer.

“I stay busy. I wouldn’t have time to work again,” he said with a smile.

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com
Cole Miller, auxilliary volunteer for the Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center, works in the gift shop at the hospital. Miller also delivers mail, papers and works the front desk at times.

Miller said his hospital volunteer schedule “varies from week to week.”

“It keeps me active,” Miller said. “I just enjoy meeting new people and interacting with customers and patients.”

Being a member of the Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center Auxiliary simply requires $5 yearly dues and filling out an application online or at the hospital.

The goal, said Debbie Amsler, gift shop manager for the Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center, is to support volunteer services. There are a variety of volunteer opportunities, she said.

“Everybody has special talents and skills that can be used,” she said.

Amsler said the auxiliary has raised about $1 million for the hospital since the first donation in 1959, after auxiliary began in 1955. That includes $100,000 for digital mammography equipment, $105,000 for the gift shop expansion, and thousands for scholarship funding.

To do so, they have to fundraise, Miller said, which is done through regular sales events in the hospital’s lobby, and more.

At one such event coming up on April 22, the Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center Auxiliary will be conducting a fundraiser at the Stuart Powell Ford dealership in Danville from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Anyone 18 and older willing to take a short survey can sign up to do a short test drive through the Drive 4 UR Community program, earning $20 per driver for the auxiliary. Each test drive will last about 20 minutes.

Auxiliary members will be there to help register those wanting to participate.

Miller guessed he’s put over 5,500 hours at the hospital since beginning the “rewarding” work. His favorite aspect of the volunteer work is visiting the patients.

“There’s several (memorable) moments. When I deliver mail, or newspapers, or patients, and they’re so thankful … it makes it worthwhile.”

Follow Kendra Peek on Twitter, @knpeek.

SO YOU KNOW

The Drive 4 UR Community event to benefit the Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center Auxiliary will be 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on April 22.

Anyone 18 and older willing to take a short survey can sign up to do a short test drive through the Drive 4 UR Community program, earning $20 per driver — spending about 20 minutes total.

Caribbean Spice food truck will be at the event from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. with Cuban-inspired food.