Gary and Donna Monroe have both found their niche as Kootenai Health volunteers
Kootenai Health is fortunate to have a robust volunteer program with a variety of both new and veteran volunteers. These dedicated individuals all share an enthusiasm for serving others—an enthusiasm that is often contagious, especially to their spouses. With nearly a dozen couples in the adult volunteer program, it’s easy to see how the giving bug spreads.
Donna Monroe began volunteering at Kootenai Health in 2013 just after moving to the area. After a career of managing physician offices, working at the Idaho Medical Association and teaching medical coding, she thought volunteering at the hospital would be a good fit and a way to meet people in her new town.
“I had always worked adjacent to patient care but not directly with patients,” Donna said. “This provided the opportunity to get to help patients and their families during a time that can be very stressful. Working in the new surgery waiting room, I greet patients when they arrive and make sure families can connect with their surgeons and nurses for updates. And I give lots of hugs—that’s wonderful.”
Having been stationed in several areas throughout the hospital, Donna brought home a variety of stories about her experiences while volunteering. As the current president-elect, her pride in the program is palpable.
“Donna’s excitement and positive experience definitely made me consider joining the program,” Gary Monroe, Donna’s husband, said. “Donna also wanted to get me out of the house more, so she recommended the Mended Hearts group to me.”
Hearts in hand
Mended Hearts is a national program that partners with Kootenai Health to offer services to heart patients through hospital visits, support group meetings and educational forums. The group’s mission is to “improve the lives of heart patients and their families through support and education.”
Kootenai’s current Mended Hearts group consists of four volunteers in the visiting program and averages 12 to 20 support group members.
As a former heart patient himself—surviving a heart attack and bypass surgery in 2004—Gary knows firsthand how beneficial a program like this can be for patients.
“Those of us that visit patients go through special training and spend time just talking with patients following their surgery,” he said. “We can relate to their situation—we’ve all been there and lived to tell the tale.”
Paying it forward
While Donna and Gary agree that volunteering brings them joy and gives them another hobby to look forward to each week, they also feel good about being able to help those who have helped them.
“We both have chronic health problems as part of our lives,” Donna said. “We’ve both been treated by the physicians and staff here, as have our friends and family, and we’re grateful for the work they do. Being able to support them and help make their jobs easier is a way we can say thank you to them and also feel like we’re giving back to our community. It’s a win-win.”
Volunteer with us!
Kootenai Health is always looking for individuals who want to give back to their community through volunteer work. We have a variety of opportunities for adults, teens and even pets. By becoming a volunteer at Kootenai, you get the opportunity to create a meaningful impact on the lives of our patients and their families. If you are looking to gain a genuine sense of satisfaction from helping others, please consider volunteering with us.