Fifteen years ago, Concord resident Dave Porter began volunteering at Emerson Hospital. Today he is 88 years old and he has volunteered for nearly 3,000 hours at Emerson. He was recently honored with the Joan Schiller Outstanding Volunteer Award at Emerson’s annual Volunteer Awards and Appreciation Luncheon at the Holiday Inn in Boxborough.
One volunteer who has made a significant contribution in service to Emerson is honored with the prestigious Outstanding Volunteer award each year. Recipients are chosen on the basis of their contributions to the delivery of high-quality personal care that strengthens the profession of volunteer service. For Mr. Porter volunteering is about, “offering a few moments of friendly conversation during a time when the patient may be tense or otherwise uncomfortable,” and giving back to the community.
Mr. Porter volunteers every weekend at Emerson, transporting patients to appointments all over the hospital. He said his back sometimes complains about his age when lifting things, but pushing people who are in stretchers and wheelchairs, “is actually easy on my back. I hope to continue to volunteer at Emerson as long as I’m able.”
"One of the hallmarks of Emerson is our focus on giving patients premium care with a personal touch. Our volunteers provide the personal touch to patients and visitors that truly makes a difference," said Christine Schuster, president and CEO of Emerson. “Dave is incredibly deserving of the Joan Schiller Outstanding Volunteer Award, he goes out of his way to provide an exceptionally warm experience for each of the patients he works with and we are extremely grateful to have him on our team.”
One of Mr. Porter’s favorite memories about volunteering at Emerson is when he took a patient to an appointment. “She was visibly nervous,” he explains. “I told her about my hobby of placing blue bird nesting boxes all over town. She was fascinated by the stories and very appreciative for taking her mind off of the appointment. I like to establish relationships with people and help them feel a little more comfortable.”
Prior to his volunteer service at Emerson, Mr. Porter worked as the Vice President of Marketing for Millipore Corporation and then ran a business that manufactured pharmaceutical labels and medical packaging locally, in Puerto Rico and in Ireland. “When I retired there was no question that I would volunteer at Emerson, it was the most natural thing for me to do.” His wife Sandy was a member of Emerson’s Auxiliary and had volunteered at the hospital herself for more than twenty years. Reflecting on his award he said, “I am extremely proud. It was quite emotional when I heard my name called when I received the award, tears came to my eyes.”
"Emerson has more volunteers per patient bed than any other hospital in Massachusetts," explains Janet Davis, director of community services at Emerson. "However, it is not simply how many volunteers we have, but the caliber of volunteers we have. Our patients can't help but feel comfortable and cared for when they meet Dave. He is truly a gift to Emerson and to every patient and staff member who has the privilege of meeting him."
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Emerson Hospital is a multi-site health system headquartered in Concord, Mass., with additional facilities in Sudbury, Groton and Westford. The 179-bed hospital provides advanced medical services to more than 300,000 individuals in 25 towns. To learn more, visit www.emersonhospital.org.