Volunteers ease the path toward healing at Goshen Health

08/16/2018

For Ellen and Joe Stevens, volunteer service comes naturally. Both have been giving back to their community for decades.

Joe pioneered the way for volunteers to serve at Goshen Physicians Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in 2014. He was the first Red Coat assigned to the orthopedic center and sees what a difference volunteers can make every day. Joe leans on his experience with torn tendons and muscular problems to know how to best help patients and their families who come into the facility.

“A lot of patients are worried about their doctor’s appointment,” said Joe. “Or they want to know where to go for the MRI lab. I try to help them get comfortable and make their time with us a little easier.”

Past experiences also inspired Ellen to volunteer at Goshen. She began volunteering in the day surgery unit at the hospital in 2012, soon after her mother passed away. It gave her renewed purpose and replaced a daily routine of caring for her mother, who lived in a nursing home after a stroke.

“I know it’s a stressful situation to wait while a loved one is in surgery,” said Ellen. “I can help them take a deep breath and remind them it’s one step at a time.”

Before Joe retired from his management position at Utilimaster in 2000, he dedicated countless hours to the Elkhart County Exchange Club, Child and Parent Services and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Tennessee.

Ellen has always appreciated Joe’s dedication to the community. She supported plenty of student-led volunteer activities as associate principal of Concord High School and principal of Wawasee High School in Syracuse, Ind., before she retired in 2010.

Today, patients tell Ellen and Joe how much they appreciate their help, whether it’s opening a door, a friendly greeting or passing time with conversation.

“When they realize I’m a volunteer – and I don’t get paid – they are so grateful for my service,” said Joe. “Some even ask how they can get involved as a volunteer. It’s all really gratifying.”

More than 300 community members volunteer at Goshen Health. They make a difference in the lives of patients and families. Many serve as Red Coats in the hospital lobby. Others assist patients in the infusion room at Goshen Center for Cancer Care or make home visits to hospice patients and their families.

For information about volunteer opportunities at Goshen Health, contact Karla Beasley, Volunteer Coordinator, by email, kbeasley@goshenhealth.com or phone, (574) 364-2633.

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Joe and Ellen Stevens staffed the booth at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair to let visitors know what they find rewarding about volunteering at Goshen Health.