Every April, the volunteer program at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center commemorates National Volunteer Week to recognize volunteers’ efforts to support and enhance the patient experience. This year, however, marks a special milestone as the program celebrates its 25th anniversary. Over the last quarter of a century, the program – and the hospital – has seen many changes, but one constant for them both is Charlotte Rickert, who has been part of the volunteer program since day one.
“Charlotte is the only volunteer who has been here since the program started,” said Mary Iodice, Director, Volunteer and Community Services at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center. “She has become a dear friend to me and so many others over the last 25 years and she truly embodies what our volunteer program is all about – making Lahey a more compassionate and welcoming place for the patients, families and visitors. I’m so happy she’s here to help us celebrate our 25th anniversary.”
Today, the program boasts close to 200 volunteers, over a dozen of whom trail not too far behind Rickert with close to 20 years and thousands of hours of service to the hospital.
Rickert began volunteering in Hospital Admissions in 1993 after her children had grown and left the house, but her history with Lahey goes back more than forty years. Rickert has been a patient at Lahey since the hospital was located in downtown Boston, so when it came time to choose a place to volunteer, she didn’t think twice.
“I can attest to the excellent care they provide,” Rickert said. “So, I’m more than happy to give back to Lahey.”
Rickert has spent nearly every Wednesday afternoon for the last 25 years helping the hospital admissions team with clerical tasks and paper work. Rickert says that over the years faces have changed and technology has progressed, but she still feels the same sense of gratification being able to help.
“It’s a pleasure,” Rickert says. “I really enjoy coming in.”
And of being the last remaining member of the inaugural class of volunteers?
“It’s a nice distinction,” Rickert said.
National Volunteer Week is April 15-21. To learn more about the volunteer program at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, click here, or contact Mary Iodice, Director, Volunteer and Community Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.