Hickory Creek at Greensburg’s annual banquet gave a slew of well-deserving volunteers their due Friday afternoon.
As part of a celebration of the nationally recognized Volunteer Appreciation Week, Hickory Creek staff and residents sat down for a slice of strawberry shortcake and punch, and let the several in attendance who have donated so much of their time know exactly how much they were appreciated.
Activities Director Cheryl Harford read a poem she selected for the event that emphasized the many contributions made by volunteers day-in and day-out.
With a different sort of hat placed as a centerpiece on each table in the facility’s meeting room, Harford read how each hat exemplified the plethora of tasks accomplished by those who give their time to cheer up the nursing home’s residents. The poem explained how volunteers change the lives of Hickory Creek’s residents for the better; how they teach those residents new and different things; and how their loyalty and love can significantly brighten the days of those on the receiving end of their visits.
Each volunteer and resident attending the program stated his or her name and was recognized by the group. Hickory Creek Resident’s Council President Arnie Brown led the group in a prayer prior to the start of the celebration.
That celebration saw residents, staff members and volunteers alike enjoy the aforementioned treats while taking time to chat with one another. And it was evident throughout the afternoon that the event was a fitting example of how volunteering can positively affect all involved.
Polly McCreary has been doing just that for about 13 years now. McCreary told the group she does what she does simply “for the smiles,” though she was the first to admit that being a volunteer comes with its own set of rewards.
“We love to sit and talk,” McCreary said. “I give them hugs and kisses. This (opportunity to volunteer) is one of the gifts that God has given me.”
Other volunteers similarly pointed to their faith as a source from which their tireless efforts spring.
Helen Hamilton has attended multiple churches throughout the county and has been volunteering to nursing home and assisted living residents in the area since 2000. She told the Daily News she feels the volunteers actually get more out of the visits than do the residents.
“We’re indirectly blessed,” said Hamilton.
Pauline White, who enjoys creating cards with kind sayings or Bible verses matched up with an appropriate picture for the residents, does her work with the intent of making certain those unable to live on their own feel as special as anyone else.
Donna Taylor and Charlie Mourey, members of the Greensburg Kiwanis Aktion Club, a group of adults with disabilities who engage in a variety of efforts aimed at spreading joy to those in nursing homes, do what they can to make those they visit feel special as well. Taylor said she and others bring along snack bags on their visits, and they’ve also taken to offering comfy neck cushions.
Friday’s program, however, was intended to bring as many smiles to the faces of those many volunteers as they’ve been known to bring to those they visit. Before leaving, the volunteers were given a Hickory Creek “goodie bag” and small potted flower. They were also lavished with praise.
Hickory Creek Interim Administrator Donna Jones told those in attendance, “We’re very appreciative of your services and time.”
Arnie Brown’s prayer called for God’s blessings to be bestowed on those volunteers ten-fold, while the poem read by Cheryl Harford emphasized just how much a single person aiming to help others can achieve.
“You are a sunflower in our lives,” the activities director read. “We can depend and count on you. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.”
Contact: Brent Brown 812-663-3111 x7056