Don Cruise still remembers what he was playing at Carle BroMenn Medical Center when a guest quietly approached his piano. The man’s wife had just had surgery where she experienced serious complications. “He was in a state of despair,” Cruise said, “but when he heard ‘Shower the People You Love With Love,’ he was filled with hope and told me he was immediately going back up to his wife’s room to give her his support and love.” It’s a moment Cruise will never forget.
“It’s amazing what strong emotions music can evoke in people,” he said. “I am blessed to have the chance to play that wonderful piano for the folks in Surgery Waiting and Acute Rehab.”
Every day, volunteers like Cruise touch countless lives across Carle Health, serving wherever there’s a need. Their invaluable work is never about the numbers. But when you look at those numbers, they tell an impressive tale. In 2022, volunteers across Carle Health donated 176,984 hours. At minimum wage, that’s equivalent to a financial gift of $2,123,808. At the National Independent Sector Rate of $29.95, it’s even higher, reaching a staggering $5,300,671. Here’s a quick look at how those numbers break down across the board.
In our Bloomington-Normal service area, which includes Carle BroMenn Medical Center and Carle Eureka Hospital, 528 volunteers provided 57,248 hours. And there’s still room for those who’d like to volunteer in almost any of the more than 50 different ways to serve, including the Carle BroMenn Resale Boutique.
In the Champaign-Urbana service area, a thousand volunteers provided 64,493 hours. Much of that is done by the Carle Auxiliary and one of the largest student volunteer programs in the State of Illinois. There are nearly 100 active volunteer positions in the Champaign-Urbana service area. Currently, volunteers are needed most in CRIS Healthy Aging, patient escort dispatch, No One Dies Alone and the new Carle at The Riverfront medical campus in Danville.
On April 1, Carle Health welcomed its newest hospitals from the Greater Peoria service area, adding the Carle Methodist Hospital Service League, the Carle Pekin Hospital League and the Carle Proctor Hospital Service Auxiliary to the healthcare system’s ranks of amazing volunteers. Altogether, 491 volunteers provided 48,202 hours in the service of area patients. At Carle Methodist, Carle Proctor and Carle Pekin hospitals volunteers are needed to escort patients and serve in the Gift Shop, Outpatient Surgery or Emergency Department.
In our Olney-Robinson service area, which includes Carle Richland Memorial Hospital, 61 volunteers served 7,041 hours. Later this month, Karen Winkels, who ably led the CRMH Auxiliary and volunteer services in Olney for five years, will retire. Her role is transitioning to Heather Baker, who brings more than seven years of leadership to the position as the former associate director for CTF Illinois in the Olney area. Currently, Carle Richland volunteers, both adults and students, serve in seven areas with openings in Extended Care, patient escort, The East Street Boutique and the Victory Garden.
“As we celebrate National Volunteer Week, we’re grateful to all volunteers throughout Carle Health for the time they give,” Eric Toliver, director of Volunteer Services for Carle Health, said. “Their service over the past year truly enhances the patient experience.”