For a woman like Marion Igel of Boston, volunteering is seen in terms of a commitment to a job. She started as a transport volunteer at Bertrand Chaffee Hospital and its Physical Therapy Department on June 18, 1997. And at the end of this June, twenty years later, Igel has kept that commitment to the patients of BCH.
After retiring from the banking industry and roles at the “Big E” (Erie County Savings Bank), Igel looked for a way to fill her time. Her second-oldest sister was volunteer at Our Lady of Victory, and later at Mercy Hospital in Buffalo. Igel lived in Boston, she wanted to find something closer to home. She called Bertrand Chaffee Hospital, and was soon connected with the PT department. Her assignment: for one day a week, spend six hours transporting patients to physical therapy appointments from the Jennie B. Richmond Nursing Home and the medical-surgical floor of BCH.
“It’s the people that have kept me volunteering all these years,” explained Igel. “I grew attached, especially to some of the residents at the Jennie B.”
Igel continued, “Volunteering and helping people made me feel good, and I made great friends along the way.”
Mary Lou Wright, director of the Physical Therapy Department, explained, “Marion has put in miles of walking over the years, transporting patients and running interdepartmental errands.” Wright added, “Volunteers can ‘walk away’ at any time…Marion chose to stay, and we have been very fortunate to have her as part of our team, and to know and love her as part of our family.”
Igel has a son in Texas and a daughter who lives just a few minutes away in Boston (NY), with five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. She said that she would tell future volunteers at BCH about the empathy involved in being a hospital volunteer: “Be devoted and learn to associate yourself with the patients…one day you could be in that position.”