By Valerie Benton
Five hundred and twelve volunteers at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital logged more than 52,000 volunteer hours between 2009 and 2010, according to Volunteer Services Director Dianne Owens.
Logging in 2,800 hours alone was Rosa Watts, Phoebe’s 2010 Lillian B. Allison Volunteer of the Year. Watts and dozens of other Phoebe volunteers were toasted with a “Blazing the Trail of Service” volunteer recognition dinner Tuesday night at First Methodist Church in Albany.
“Rosa Watts was chosen Volunteer of the Year 2010 because of her love and passion to serve others,” said Dianne Owens, Phoebe Volunteer Services director.
Watts, who grew up in Fitzgerald, followed her mother’s footsteps as a teacher. She earned a master’s degree in early childhood education at Valdosta State College and undergraduate degree in early childhood education at Albany State University and followed her passion for teaching. During her career, she was named Teacher of the Year at Turner Elementary School. Her family includes her son Samuel and daughter-in-law Michelle and grandson Caleb.
“This volunteer came to us in 2002 once again to give service to others,” said Owens. “Anytime there is a project, she is the first to raise a hand and volunteer.”
As a young child she looked up to her teacher and mentor Lillie Mae Walker who inspired her to give service, explained Owens. She has spent a lifetime of helping others through her church in many organizations and committees, including March of Dimes, Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries and Phoebe.
“Rosa is fully engaged in life to its fullest,” Owens said. “She visits patients through the Golden Key Program with a smile bringing joy to all she comes in contact with. Rosa never waits for an opportunity, but seeks out those in need. Indeed this volunteer is truly an inspiration to us all.”
Also recognized Tuesday night were:
n Edith Oliver for Most Cumulative Hours. Oliver has volunteered since 1995. She has made hundreds of crocheted hats for the NICU babies.
n Vera Hagin for Most Hours of Service. Hagin, who has volunteered since 1999, spends four days a week in Golden Key and Service From The Heart.
n Jo Jones for Most Years of Service. Jones has volunteered since 1963 with the Charity League, giving a hand in Registration, Surgical Family Waiting and Admission Discharge Unit.
Among the organizations that provided volunteers to Phoebe and contributed to the overall total volunteer hours were: Charity League of Albany, Covenant Presbyterian Sewing Club, Delta Pet Partners, Junior Woman’s Club of Albany, Mended Hearts, Phoebe Volunteers, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Single Sewers and the Student Program.
“Phoebe volunteers are ordinary people doing extraordinary things – every day!” said Owens. “They come to the hospital with love and passion to serve others. Many have gone through hardships in their own lives and have seen first hand what volunteers can do. They in turn want to give the same love.”
Previous Phoebe volunteers of the year are Ernie Mickey, 1995; Clarice Leavy, 1996; Helen Cyganiewicz, 1997; Edna Smith, 1998; Dottie Ard, 1999; Emily Buce, 2000; Jodi Dove, 2001; Lillian Davis, 2002; Mattie Smith, 2003; Margaret Jo Hogg, 2004; Jim Hill, 2005; Joy Sheckels, 2006; Marge Voytek, 2007; Cindy Parsons, 2008; and Bob Kane and Edith Oliver, 2009.