By Whitney Vickers
XENIA — Mary Luttrell appreciates spending her volunteer shifts at Greene Memorial Hospital gift shop by the front door, as she feels that it’s important for those walking through it to be met with a wave and friendly face.
“I want to give back to the community,” she said. “That’s the way a lot of us (other GMH volunteers) feel — we want to support our hospital and the Kettering Health Network and give back to the community in whatever way they can.”
The Xenia resident once worked as a teacher and reading consultant in the local school district, and currently volunteers her time as a board member for Friends of the Xenia Public Library and president of the Greene County Historical Society, in addition to her duties at GMH.
Upon first beginning her four-hour shift in the gift shop, she checks for new inventory, restocks needed items, assists customers and counts the cash drawer. From time to time, Luttrell will receive a phone call from an individual away from the area asking if she can pick out and deliver an item to a loved one of theirs currently staying at GMH. She said peanuts and candy are popular items in the gift shop.
“Luckily I’ve never had to use the hospital and none of my family has ever had to use it, but I know from friends and neighbors that the care is excellent and the staff is very professional and well-trained,” Luttrell said. “I want to do as much as I can to support the hospital in my community.”
Upon first starting to offer her time and energy at GMH five years ago, the volunteer coordinator conducted a tour of the facility in order to match her interests with the duties in which she would later engage. Her favorite part of serving GMH is the people she volunteers alongside, while her biggest challenge is not having more time to give.
She advises future GMH volunteers to enjoy the experience.
“It is a commitment; make it personal and enjoyable,” Luttrell said. “I think that’s important. There’s no reward in the [form] of a paycheck, but you don’t need that — you get that from your fellow coworkers and co-volunteers. It’s a satisfying feeling when you’ve been able to provide for others. I can’t imagine not doing it.”