National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 to recognize and celebrate the efforts of volunteers across the country. Healthcare Volunteer Week 2021 is a time to honor and thank volunteers for their commitment to patient care and their compassion toward patients, staff and the community.

I especially want to thank the volunteers at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center.

Even though this last year has been quiet for volunteers, those we do have are willing to give so generously of their time and talent. The dedication to help in the comfort of our patients is immeasurable and appreciated by all staff.

Since January, we have about 20 who have been on the front lines helping with the COVID-19 vaccines in directing them and making sure they are watched for 15 minutes afterward.

The Independent Sector announced that the estimated value of a volunteer hour is now $27.20. The valuation of volunteer time provides one way to measure the impact hundreds of individuals make with each hour they dedicate to make a difference.

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Volunteering is one way people say they want to “give back.” It is unique and distinctive. I want to extend the appreciation not only to volunteers at the hospital and clinic, but to those in the community who are generously volunteering during this time of need with innovative ways to give even by being home.

Whether volunteers help a single patient or ignite change that benefits many, they are making a difference. Children who grow up learning to give back not only strengthen their communities but enrich their own lives in countless ways.

Please join us in celebrating that spirit of selfless service and extend your appreciation to all volunteers not only at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center, but to all nonprofit agencies that have such wonderful volunteers.

Deb Anderson,

Volunteer services supervisor,

Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center, Brainerd