Paying it forward: Behind the information desk

Barbara Eppley can often be found behind the Marietta Memorial Hospital information desk just outside the first floor elevators. She’s one of approximately 200 volunteers who serve in various capacities at the health care facility.

Question: How long have you been volunteering at the hospital?

Answer: I’ve been working the information desk for three or four years now. I usually work at least half a day, but may come in more often if I’m needed.

Q: How did you become a hospital volunteer?

A: I was a hairdresser in the Waterford and Marietta areas for 40 years. Some of the ladies who were my customers volunteered here. They said I should try it, so after I retired I contacted the hospital about becoming a volunteer, too.

Q: Do you like the work?

A: Yes. I have a lot of time now that I’m retired. I like being around people and enjoy helping them. And I think what we do is an important service for the hospital, not just for the visitors and patients, but for the various departments, too. We free up those employees so they can do their jobs.

Q: What kinds of services do you provide at the information desk?

A: Many people come here for medical tests, so we help direct them to the proper departments. We also direct visitors to patients’ rooms and deliver cards and flowers that are brought in for patients during the day. We answer phone calls and sell some balloons and small stuffed animals to visitors. That money helps support the hospital’s volunteer program.

Q: So the information desk isn’t always so quiet?

A: It can become pretty busy here. Sometimes patients will take a walk around the hospital and then become lost, so we help them find their way back to their rooms. One time I even helped a girl find the emergency room who thought she was having a heart attack.

Q: Would you recommend volunteering to others?

A: I would really recommend this to anyone. I work with a lot of nice people and am always meeting other volunteers. It’s very interesting, and there are many places throughout the hospital where volunteers are needed.

Sam Shawver conducted this interview.