Methodist Medical Center’s legacy of volunteer-support dates back to 1944 when the “Manhattan Project” was developed and the American Red Cross trained 53 “Grey Ladies” (fondly known for their uniforms) to serve in what was then a military hospital. Distributing mail and flowers, managing a soft drink concession and canvassing the parking lot for empty bottles to sell to distributors, the Grey Ladies of 1944 were establishing a tradition of smiles, service and fundraising that would extend beyond the war into more than 65 years of support for staff and patients.
The Grey Ladies eventually became the Pink Ladies (again known for their uniforms) and today, the now co-ed group is more generally known as the Volunteers, but the spirit is still the same. More than 200 men and women give their time and talents to Methodist Medical Center each year and annually average over 55,000 hours of service to the medical center.
While they no longer canvas the parking lot for redeemable bottles, the Volunteers are still a strong financial supporter of the hospital. With their famous Pink Placebo Gift Shop, the “$5 Jewelry” sales, clothing sales, book fairs, auction and numerous seasonal sales and events, the Methodist Volunteers are able to raise funds that support the hospital and the community. The Volunteers are often the lead donors in hospital fundraising campaigns. In 2007, they pledged $300,000 to Methodist’s campaign to bring robotic surgery to the hospital. They’ve also given valuable support to such annual fundraisers as Holiday Lights, which benefits the Hospitality Houses, and to Methodist’s Casino Night. Over the years, the Volunteers have given more than $1 million to the medical center for needed renovations and equipment. More recently – communication white boards for patient rooms and the cone beam CT for Thompson Cancer Center at Methodist.
The Volunteers’ gifts not only support the medical center, but the future of healthcare as well. For decades the Volunteer Organization granted scholarships to employees of MMC. In 2003, they expanded their outreach and began giving medical scholarships to students from 16 area high schools. The program evolved to concentrate scholarships toward RSCC students in specific healthcare studies and more recently, moved to provide scholarships for deserving MMC employees furthering their education in healthcare fields.
The MMC Volunteer is often the first person the hospital visitor sees. They are the friendly smile behind a vase of flowers or the morning paper. They are the sympathetic ear or the outstretched hand for a family awaiting news of a loved one. The Volunteers of MMC have a place in many departments throughout the hospital and off-site facilities. They are behind the information desk, pager stations and waiting room counters. They are assisting sales in the Pink Placebo Gift Shop and pushing carts full of flowers, fruit, popcorn and snacks. They act as “coaches” in the Joint Replacement Center and Patricia Neal Out-patient Center. They are the caring friends at the Thompson Cancer Resource Center and Hospitality Houses.
As valuable as the Volunteers’ monetary support is to the hospital, their physical support is priceless. The Volunteers who give of themselves are an integral part of the care patients, visitors and guests receive when they come through the doors of Methodist Medical Center. They provide an “all-star” team for a hospital they call their own! They continue to be the heart and soul of MMC!