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Service League President Puts His Heart in Volunteering

December 14, 2010

Andy Estevez Looks Back at Another Successful Year for the League

Washington Hospital Service League President Andy Estevez likes to help patients and their families in their time of need. He knows what it feels like to be diagnosed with a serious health problem and need hospital care. He had his first heart attack at age 42, which was followed by another heart attack and many surgeries. Estevez finally had to retire at age 55 due to his heart condition. That was nine years ago and he has been volunteering at Washington Hospital ever since.

"Since I had been through it and received such great care here at Washington Hospital, I wanted to help other families," said Estevez, who was elected president of the hospital’s volunteer organization in March. "I’m at the hospital almost every day now. I feel so good when I get home, knowing I’m helping others."

The Service League has achieved some key accomplishments this year, including nearly meeting its goal of raising $300,000 for the new critical care pavilion at Washington Hospital with two years left to go. In 2007, the Service League set the goal of raising the funds by 2012. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2013 on the new emergency room, which will enhance emergency care services for the most critically ill.

Looking back on the year, Estevez said he is proud of the volunteers and board members he works with because they are so dedicated to the hospital and its patients. According to Estevez, the Service League has 600 volunteers who donated 50,000 hours of service this year.

"I decided I would make a point to meet and talk with every volunteer," he said. "We have a lot of young volunteers, high school students who are doing their community service at the hospital. I wanted to make them feel good so they get more involved in volunteering at the hospital, more engaged."

Estevez worked with others to organize a pizza party that was attended by more than 80 young volunteers. "It might not sound like a big deal, but it’s hard to get young people to show up for these types of events," he said. "They have homework and other commitments. People had tried in the past and could never get the attendance. Everyone loved it this year, so we’re going to make it an annual event."

Critical Support

The Service League celebrated 55 years of service in February. It was started in 1955 to support Washington Township’s new hospital, which was being built. Today Washington Hospital relies on Service League volunteers to perform much-needed services for patients and hospital staff.

Volunteers help greet patients and visitors, discharge patients, provide emotional support to patients and their families in the emergency room, keep friends and family updated on patient status, assist in the Radiology Oncology Center, coach patients in the Center for Joint Replacement, take photos of newborns, work in the gift shop, and more.

"Besides having a regular volunteer assignment, volunteers can also help out during one-time hospital events like public lectures and health screenings," says Anna Elola, director of Volunteer Services at Washington Hospital. "This year, 240 volunteers in addition to staffing their serviced donated over 650 hours in more than 80 community events."

Elola says the holiday season is a special time of the year for the Service League to stop and reflect on the gifts the volunteers give to Washington Hospital's patients, visitors and staff.

"We honor our volunteers by placing each and every one of their pictures in a display in the main hospital lobby," she says. "There are many opportunities for volunteers; and we invite people to find out about our program by attending an information session. Perhaps next year your picture will be added to the display of volunteers honored by Washington Hospital."

Learn More About Volunteering at Washington Hospital

Volunteers must be 16 or older and all potential volunteers are required to attend an information session to find out about current opportunities and requirements. The meetings are held every month at the Conrad E. Anderson Auditorium located at Washington West, 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont. The next session is scheduled for Wednesday, December 15, from 4 to 5 p.m. The January session will be held on Friday, January 28, from 4 to 5 p.m. For more information about volunteering at Washington Hospital, visit www.whhs.com/volunteer/b-a-volunteer or call (510) 791-3465.