With 9,500 volunteer hours at St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center under her belt, Mary Jo Cline of Maumelle was honored in December with the Ida and Herbert Besser award for her work with the facility.
Cline said she loves the Ida and Herbert Besser award and that it is the most prestigious award given to volunteers.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” Cline said. “It’s a very outstanding award.”
Cline began volunteering at St. Vincent Hospital in Little Rock in the ’70s.
After being a patient in the hospital a few times, Cline realized how much of an impact the volunteers who visited her in her room made on her, and she wanted to be a part of it.
“St. Vincent had been so good to me,” Cline said. “The volunteers were so nice and friendly, and I thought, ‘I want to do this.’”
Cline began working for the hospital, and through her many positions throughout the facility, she found a love for helping people. She has worked wherever the hospital needed help, including in the outpatient area, surgery waiting, the intensive-care unit and guest relations.
“[I love] meeting the families and trying to help the families,” Cline said. “I just love people.”
Cline works at the Coronary Care Unit information desk, which is near the elevator on the second floor of the hospital.
“I’m the first person they see,” Cline said. “I have to smile and greet [the people.]”
Even with the 9,500 volunteer hours she has accumulated, Cline isn’t looking to stop anytime soon.
“When you get to 10,000 hours, that’s pretty special,” Cline said, “so I’m shooting for that.”
Not only is Cline a volunteer at St. Vincent; she is also a lifetime member of the St. Vincent Auxiliary. She has served as the membership chairwoman, corresponding secretary, treasurer, vice president, president-elect and president.
“I just love that hospital,” Cline said. “I just feel like they have excellent doctors and nurses.”
The nurses at St. Vincent rank above all other nurses, in Cline’s opinion. She said the nurses take such good care of the patients in the hospital and have a caring attitude about them.
Cline’s time at St. Vincent has allowed her to see many transitions in technology in the medical field.
“I love these new modern medical devices. The heart area at St. Vincent is so outstanding; it is above modern,” Cline said.
In addition to her volunteer work at the hospital, she volunteers at the Maumelle Senior Wellness Center, where she teaches senior citizens card games.
“The seniors are blessed to have this center,” Cline said.
She said the Maumelle Senior Wellness
Center offers fitness classes, meals and activities for members five days a week.
After devoting so much time to volunteering, Cline wants to encourage others to do so as well.
“I think it’s healthy to volunteer. It keeps your mind busy, and you need to keep your mind active,” Cline said.
She wants to spread her passion for volunteering to others in the community. She said St. Vincent and the Maumelle Senior Wellness Center are always in need of volunteers.
Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501)244-4307 or firstname.lastname@example.org.