IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital

Former hospital teen volunteers now serve as adults

We are IU Health

July 15, 2019

They were drawn to IU Health as teens and now these adults are back among the ranks of team members serving patients.

Faded, wrinkled and torn pages fill a treasured folder that spans more than three decades. Written on the pages are guidelines and safety rules for hospital volunteers. There’s also a newspaper clipping recognizing Maggie Crabtree’s 100 hours of service to IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital. She didn’t even have her driver’s license when she began volunteering at the hospital. She refilled the patient’s ice water pitchers and helped stock the gift shop.

She continued serving at the hospital for two years until her newfound freedom was found in a set of car keys.

“I have great memories of volunteering. It made me feel like I was doing something special,” said Crabtree. So special in fact that later on in life she encouraged her daughter to volunteer. The 16-year-old now serves in guest relations. And after working in an office for 20 years, Crabtree returned to the hospital to again volunteer in patient care.

“I volunteer in the infusion area getting drinks, blankets – anything the patients need,” said Crabtree. “I may help a patient to the restroom or I may make sure everything is stocked for the nurses. I didn’t know where I’d end up but I just thought they’ll put me wherever they need me and I love it. It is so rewarding.”

Sandra Hoover, director of volunteer resources at IU Health Ball Memorial said she doesn’t know just how many former teen volunteers have returned as adult team members but there are several.

“There was no tracking system in place, but I recognize many, many faces,” said Hoover. “I have to think it had something to do with their experience as a teen volunteer.” Volunteers must be at least 14 years or older, be in good standing with his or her school, maintain a “B” average, attend orientation and two full days of on-the-job training, complete a volunteer application along with a letter of reference, and proof of immunizations, and commit to one year of service.

Jamie Friar, who works as an ultrasound technician at IU Health Ball Memorial says she wasn’t a “typical” teen volunteer.

“I was a huge basketball player and wanted to play for Tennessee but my senior year I blew out my knee,” said Friar, who has had seven surgeries. Her first real exposure to the hospital was at the age of 13 when she was sent for physical therapy. She was so impressed by the staff that she began volunteering in the department and when she turned 18 and a job opened up she applied. Eventually she applied to x-ray school and was one of 12 accepted. Working in mammography Friar says she can relate to the patients. She is a five-year survivor of salivary gland cancer.

“I used to think I kind of knew what they went through with radiation but you have no idea until you’re in those shoes. I’m able to empathize with them better,” said Friar, who has also volunteered in adult pastoral care for the hospital.

Her service at the hospital brought another unexpected surprise – she met her husband, Steve who was also a volunteer patient transporter. They’ve been married for 29 years. “I’d have to say my first job was the best job ever,” said Friar. “I guess I just stayed here and got paid.”

The next volunteer orientation at IU Health Ball Memorial will be July 23 from 4-6 p.m. in the hospital’s auditorium. For more information on volunteer opportunities call 765-747-3274.

-- By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
Reach Banes via email tfender1@iuhealth.org.

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