Eighteen years ago, Acton resident Ray Normand began volunteering at Emerson Hospital. He was inspired to volunteer after he had visited a loved one and noticed how much care volunteers gave to the patients. Today he has worked for more than 6,200 hours at Emerson as a volunteer. He was recently honored with the Joan Schiller Outstanding Volunteer Award at Emerson’s annual Volunteer Awards and Appreciation Luncheon.
Each year, one volunteer who has made a significant contribution in service to Emerson patients is honored with the prestigious Outstanding Volunteer award. 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. Normand, volunteering is about, “Connecting with people and helping them feel at ease, while giving back to the community.“ Mr. Raymond volunteers two days each week at Emerson, transporting patients to appointments all over the hospital. He often walks three miles during his shifts. “It is very good exercise - better than a health club, with the added benefit of helping people,” he said.
"One of the hallmarks of Emerson is our focus on giving patients premium care with a personal touch. Our volunteers provide the personal touch that truly makes a difference to patients," said Christine Schuster, president and CEO of Emerson. “Ray is incredibly deserving of the Joan Schiller Outstanding Volunteer Award. He is known for his smiling face, kindness and compassion. He mentors new volunteers and is extremely loved by patients, staff and other volunteers. We are all extremely grateful to have him on our team.”
One of Mr. Normand’s favorite memories about volunteering at Emerson is when he would transport a patient who was receiving radiation oncology to her appointments in the hospital. Whenever she saw Ray coming she would say, “Everybody loves Raymond!” referring to the popular TV show. When she completed her radiation treatments, the clinical team presented her with a diploma. He explains that, “It was wonderful to see how happy it made her feel knowing she was done with her treatments. She was clutching the diploma with pride.”
Prior to his volunteer service at Emerson, Mr. Normand worked in the Framingham Public School system doing audio visual projects. Prior to that, he spent many years working for Raytheon in Saudi Arabia, creating video trainings. Earlier in his career, he built his career in sports production working for WHDH Radio in Boston. Through that position he had the opportunity to be at Fenway Park when Ted Williams made his final home run on the day he retired from the Red Sox. Reflecting on his award he said, “I was completely surprised and very honored. I like to be helpful and give back to Emerson because the community has provided my wife and I with such wonderful care for more than 35 years.”
"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 Ray. 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.