BARRY’S BAY – They are the heart, the soul and the driving force behind the St. Francis Memorial Hospital and are frequently seen in the background at many hospital events.
But on April 20, hospital volunteers were the ones getting the attention as they gathered for a volunteer tea at St. Francis.
“We are grateful to all of our volunteers and we hope we do a good job thanking them,” Foundation Director Toni Lavigne-Conway said.
The tea coincided with National Volunteer Week, set up to honour those who give their time and energy freely to their community.
Coffee, cake, tea and other treats were up for grabs at the annual party.
At the St. Francis Hospital, there are three ways volunteers can get involved; in the auxiliary, foundation or recreation department.
Lavigne-Conway said there are around 50 members who volunteer their time with the foundation. She explained that people of all ages come to help raise money or organize events. The foundation works to raise funds for capital equipment needs in the hospital.
Some of the foundation’s youngest volunteers include Amanda Lorbetski, a Grade 12 student at MVDHS, and her younger sister Jessica Lorbetski, a Grade 8 student at Sherwood Public School.
Since her early years in high school, Amanda has helped with the annual Tree of Lights celebration in downtown Barry’s Bay in December. Her role was to get the angels ready before they go out to light the tree.
Now that she is leaving for college, Jessica will be taking over the responsibility.
“I always watched my sister volunteer and I wanted the opportunity to help out, too,” Jessica said.
While they receive their 40 hours of community service, the Lorbetski sisters say they picked the hospital to volunteer with because it has helped so much with a family member’s illness.
Their younger sister was diagnosed with diabetes at St. Francis and continues to use the facility’s services.
Story continues in the April 26, 2012 Issue of The Valley Gazette.