April 13, 2024
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April 13, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Part 3

(Continued from last week)

But again, my laziness reared its head and I kept thinking about that problem. I said to myself, I give charity to various organizations, including hospitals, so why not donate these discs to Hackensack? I very proudly told my boss that the hospital could acquire the discs at no cost and I could then do other work for them.

The reply I received, once it sank in, I did not understand, and still do not understand now, many years later. The illogic of it was amazing. I was told that since the hospital was in the midst of a major fundraising campaign, they could not accept my donation. The fact that I was not going to donate to the campaign anyhow did not seem to bother them. So, they received neither. When I told them that with the information already available, I was not willing to sit in the library for months, I was informed that there was no other work for me there. So, I left Hackensack Hospital. No wonder they were never able to find anyone to do that particular job.

My next thought was, that since at the time I was living in Englewood NJ, why not look around in that area, such as the Englewood Hospital, as it was then known. I contacted the President of the Hospital, Mr. Kane who introduced me to Mr. Brooks the Senior Vice President for Human Resources, who would be my mentor and friend, for as long as he was there.

I had always in my life worked 5 days a week and I did not see why I should not continue to do so as a volunteer. The problem was nobody seemed to have work enough for one person for 5 days. Mr. Brooks sent me from one department to another, one would have two hours a week, another maybe a day or two, but no one was interested in someone who was willing to come in 5 days a week and work basically full time. When Mr. Brooks, who had really been trying hard to find a suitable place for me, ran out of departments to send me to, he suddenly said “Maybe we can use you right here.” Meaning I would work in the Human Resources Department.

And that is how I started volunteering at Englewood Hospital in 1993 and I am still there now in 2019.

Since I had been put to work by the Director of Human Resources, my existence did not become known to the Volunteer Department for years and I did not know for the longest time that I actually was part of the Volunteer Department. Once “I was found out” to exist, everybody had to catch up with updating their records. There have been several changes in the management of the Volunteer Department, but currently it is headed by Carol Hoth, a fine and gentle, but knowledgeable lady, concerned with the wellbeing of everyone of her charges. There are currently over 600 volunteers working at Englewood Hospital. I worked 20 years in the Human Resources Department and then, resulting from circumstances beyond any one’s control, switched to working for both the Finance Department and the Center for Nursing Practice with reduced number of hours.

Last year I received a beautiful gift from the Hospital in the form a mounted piece of crystal engraved and honoring me for having completed 30,000 hours of volunteer work over the past 25 years.

Now, dear reader, you might wonder why I have written all the above, realizing that some of it, but in a more abbreviated form, had already been written in the context of other stories.

I wanted to speak to my readers and tell them urgently that volunteering is a very satisfying and needed occupation. Satisfying for the volunteer, and needed by the community. There are so many opportunities for volunteering, at a hospital is only one of them. Above I talked about the two different times in my life, when I felt, for different reasons to want to volunteer. While I was in school and later when I was working for a living, I volunteered because I wanted to help the needy of which there were and still are so many. To do so gave me great satisfaction, and I am sure, in my little way, I was able to help many, directly and indirectly. I want to urge everyone of my readers to take to heart what I have said and find your place where you can help. It need be only a few hours a day, once a week, whatever time you can spare from your busy day.

And now I come to the time after I retired. I retired in 1985, and ever since having working as a Volunteer somewhere for most of the time. I have found, and still do, that getting up in the morning and knowing that you have a job, although unpaid, to go to, lifts you up and most important keeps your mind and body healthy. I am convinced that having a place to go to every morning, every other morning, or a few times a week, will give you a long life. Volunteering after retirement is how you can help yourself while at the same time helping others. Good luck.

By Norbert Strauss

 

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