ANDERSON -- Unsuspecting passersby often get a pleasant surprise when they’re greeted by Brian Morson at St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital.
“I guess people just like a British accent,” the London native said. “I get a lot of this, ‘I love your voice. I love your accent.’ It could be about the way you Americans think about us Brits.”
Morson has volunteered in the St. Vincent lobby by greeting and offering people directions for most of his 13 years in Anderson.
Morson’s time at the hospital started as a patient when he had a hip injury. After he made a comment that hospitals in London have greeters, the director of Volunteer Services at the time told him he had the perfect voice and accent to do it at St. Vincent.
Twelve years later, he’s volunteered more than 4,500 hours.
Last week was National Volunteer Week, but volunteers help organizations throughout the community operate every day.
Judy Lippman, St. Vincent director of Volunteer Services, said helpers are important for the hospital to function and bring comfort to patients.
St. Vincent has about 380 volunteers, 89 of whom have been there more than 20 years.
“We have quite a few,” Lippman said. “They all bring their own special talents.”
Over at Community Hospital Anderson, director of Volunteer Services Lorie Staehler said its 159 volunteers are vital.
“They’re without a doubt invaluable,” she said.
Staehler said volunteers are often the first people patients see when they come in and the last ones they see when they’re discharged.
They are also big money makers for the hospital.
Staehler said they generate thousands of dollars each year through fundraisers. Last year, they presented Community Hospital with $80,000 that was used to purchase equipment.
But it’s not just hospitals that rely on volunteers.
Mounds State Park naturalist Leah Perry said volunteers help with gardening, trail maintenance, educational programs and various other tasks.