For some of the Washington Hospital Service League volunteers, “giving
back” means giving back to the Hospital itself because of their
own prior experience as a patient at the Hospital. For others, “giving
back” is a broader view of giving back to the community and they
have chosen the Hospital as the vehicle for a variety of personal reasons.
To celebrate the volunteers of the Washington Hospital Service League and
their invaluable contributions, a special 60th Anniversary luncheon will
be held 12 noon – 2 p.m. (11 a.m. reception) on Tuesday, October
13, in the Tent at Washington West, 2500 Mowry Avenue, Fremont. All past
and current Service League volunteers are encouraged to attend and to
celebrate the Service League’s impressive accomplishments these
past 60 years. Special guests will include former Service League presidents.
A volunteer for the past 12 years, Marina Fleming sold her telecommunications
repair business and decided, now that she had some time, to see about
volunteering at the Hospital. She had trained as a nurse in school and
thought the Hospital would be a good match for her skills and volunteering
A self-described “people-person,” Marina works in the Hospital
gift shop several days a month. “We are the extra pair of hands
and feet for the staff, doing the small jobs that have to be done,”
“Volunteers also can take the extra time to listen to patients or
to concerned family members,” she said. “We can sit and listen
and provide comfort and unlike Hospital staff members who have other patients
and many responsibilities, we can spend as much time as needed with someone
who might just want to talk about what’s worrying them.”
Cherie Gamardo, a 15-year volunteer, became involved after having had knee
surgery at the Institute for Joint Replacement and Research on the Washington
Hospital campus. “I had such a good experience with my knee replacement
that I thought I should focus my volunteer interests with the Hospital.”
Cherie spends most of her volunteer hours in the Institute for Joint Restoration
and Research helping patients with physical therapy. “We act as
coaches for the patients, encouraging them with their exercises so they
can go home.”
In addition to the specific benefits of volunteering, many volunteers have
made new, close friends with other volunteers. “You meet other people
who have the same interests and concerns that you have,” Cherie
said. “They are there because they want to give back to the community
and the Hospital, just as you do.”
Nancy Pagan, who has been a volunteer for 32 years, says she enjoys being
of help to the staff and supporting the Hospital and her community —
as well as interacting with the public that comes to the Hospital. She
works at the welcome desk several days a month greeting visitors, providing
directions and information, taking flowers and other gifts to patients
and helping with patient discharges.
All three women have served on the Service League Board of Directors and
all have served terms as Board President.
Additionally, each undertakes other activities on behalf of the Service
League. Nancy also volunteers with the Washington Hospital Healthcare
Foundation and with organizing the annual Gene Angelo Pessagno Memorial
Golf Tournament, which raises significant funds for Hospital programs
and needed equipment.
Cherie works with fellow volunteers to prepare commemorative birth certificates
and make the “Magic Hankie and Pinkie Puppets,” felt hand
puppets given to each newborn as the family leaves the Hospital. She also
volunteers for a pilot program to assist patients in the medical imaging
And Marina has volunteered in the emergency department and with the Washington
Hospital Healthcare Foundation. She is also involved in other Hospital
activities not directly related to the Service League.
Reservations for the 60th Anniversary Luncheon may be obtained by contacting
Washington Hospital Volunteer Services at (510) 791-3465. Past presidents
and current adult volunteers are invited to the 60th Anniversary Luncheon
as guests of Washington Hospital. Past volunteers are invited to attend
the luncheon for $10.
Additional information on how to become a Washington Hospital Service League
volunteer may be obtained on the Washington Hospital website: whhs.com
or by calling (510) 791-3465.