Four days a week, Dick Pangburn shows up at Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital ready to work.
He shuttles folks on a golf cart from the parking lot to the door. He delivers rainbow bears to comfort children and adults going through a stressful test or experience. He even goes through the stacks of magazines in the waiting areas to ensure they aren’t too old.
For nearly eight years, he’s shown up like clockwork, but he has never made a dime.
Pangburn, 82, is one of 202 volunteers at Tidelands Health who help the health system operate efficiently by taking care of non-medical tasks to free up nurses and other medical staff to focus on providing high-quality care.
Pangburn has racked up 4,060 hours of volunteer time at the hospital, which earned him the President’s Volunteer Service Award during a luncheon Tuesday to honor the health system’s loyal volunteers during National Volunteer Week.
The former firefighter and rescue squad member humbly accepted the recognition pin, surprised that he had donated that many hours to Tidelands Health. “I don’t pay any attention to that,” he said. For him, a spirit of service comes naturally.
“It’s just a way of life,” said Pangburn, a longtime Georgetown resident who also volunteers in the community building ramps for elderly and disabled residents to get in their homes.
More than 24,000 hours of service
From April 1, 2018, to March 31, volunteers donated 24,059 hours to Tidelands Health. Volunteers help with wayfinding, operate the hospital gift shops and help patients get settled in their rooms by showing them basics such as how to work the TV remote. Outpatient surgery volunteers meet patients at 6 a.m., pull their charts and help coordinate beepers for their relatives in the waiting rooms – all tasks that free up nurses to focus on providing specialized medical care.
“We really rely on our volunteers,” said Liz Ballenger, service excellence/volunteer coordinator at Tidelands Health. “They have so many varied experiences, and they have so much empathy for our patients and their families.”
Nearly 90 new volunteers joined the ranks in the past year. The longest-running volunteers? Josette Valko and Charlene Vissman – they’ve been donating their time over the past 21 years. Margaret Hancox and Gloria Davitt aren’t far behind with 20 years of service.
All the volunteers – from the new ones to the veterans – were recognized at the luncheon and received a certificate or pin for their service.
Pangburn, who took home the day’s special award, is a familiar face around Tidelands Georgetown. But you won’t see him five days a week any time soon.
“Friday is my day,” he said. “I fish.”