HOISINGTON — The ladies in the pink coats greet visitors at Clara Barton Hospital with a friendly smile and a warm heart as they escort patients to their destinations at the hospital.
"To make people feel cared for," said Lois Schuster, pink lady. "That’s what we’re here for.
"People come in not feeling good," she said. "They like to see someone care for them."
The pink ladies are volunteers at the hospital who provide an essential service. Not only do they direct patients, they help out in other areas as a part of the hospital auxiliary.
The ladies explained the reason they volunteer. "I like people," said Schuster.
Another pink lady, Selma Webb agreed. "I like meeting people and visiting," she said. "I like volunteering."
They both said service benefits the giver as well.
"It works backwards," said Webb. On days when she doesn’t feel good herself, volunteering gets her going.
"You come up here and smile," she said. "In return, you feel better yourself."
As an acknowledgement of their efforts and the other volunteers, the CBH auxiliary has received the Gold Award of Excellence from the Kansas Hospital Association and Hospital Auxiliaries of Kansas.
The award is a non-competitive plan for individual auxiliaries to exceed their own best effort; requiring completion of 21 criteria including involvement in health related community service, health education programs, contributions to health career scholarships and other special projects during a twelve month period.
The auxiliary has 13 volunteers. The group was formed in 1953 as a partner to the hospital.
The special projects in Hoisington include working at the bloodmobile, assisting with fund raising, and helping provide scholarships.
The fund raisers include such things as jewelry sales and ornament sales. They have purchased privacy curtains as a donation to the hospital recently. In the past, they have purchased office chairs, a wheel chair scale and other items.
"It’s rewarding to see we’re helping other people," said Marty Schloemer, volunteer coordinator. She attended the convention in Topeka with hospital president and CEO Chuck Waters to receive the award.