When Piedmont Fayette Hospital first opened its doors in 1997, there were 286 volunteers and fewer than 200 staff members. The men and women of the Piedmont Fayette Hospital Auxiliary were dedicated members of the community, many of whom were instrumental in bringing a hospital to Fayette County. They were determined to make the facility, then known as Fayette Community Hospital, a success, which was not a sure thing at the time. Those involved in the process remember that some members of the community suggested that there would never be enough business for the hospital to keep its doors open.
Twenty-one years later, Piedmont Fayette is a busy and ever-expanding hospital. There are now nearly eight times as many employees (1,905) as there are volunteers and the Piedmont Fayette Auxiliary is celebrating providing 1,000,000 hours of service to the hospital. They crossed the milestone this fall and will celebrate with the staff later this month.
“One million hours is a mark that we have been looking forward to the Auxiliary reaching because it is this big number,” said Piedmont Fayette CEO Michael Burnett. “As we reflect on our volunteers reaching that mark, however, we realize that the impact of those hours is far greater than any number could suggest.”
Although the number fluctuates, there are an average of 240 active volunteers at Piedmont Fayette each year. Each volunteer commits to working at least one four-hour shift a week at the hospital, but there are men and women who commit to working much more than that. There are people that staff the information desks, the gift shop, and drive the courtesy carts around the campus, but there are also volunteers who help out behind the scenes, working in areas like the emergency department, women’s services, women’s imaging, and surgical services among many others.
They are valued members of each department’s team and they often hear that the staff couldn’t do what they do each day without the efforts of the volunteers. The auxiliary also welcomes high school students each summer for several months of service and education throughout the hospital and has a dedicated group of legacy members who remain active and dedicated to the hospital after retiring from their volunteer posts.
“Many people talk about the benefits that volunteers provide for the hospital, but the volunteers benefit greatly as well,” said Auxiliary President Bob Napoli. “Making people feel better, bringing a smile to someone’s face, and knowing that everyone can contribute and make a difference is a wonderful feeling. You can’t put a value on that.”
Piedmont Fayette has started talking about plans to expand its campus again and will open the Piedmont Wellness Center at Pinewood Forest next November. The Piedmont Fayette Auxiliary is expected to grow along with the hospital and is always looking for new members to contribute to the success of the hospital.
To learn more about the Piedmont Fayette Auxiliary, visit piedmont.org/volunteers.