Work often is something people do simply because they have to make a living. But volunteering is strictly a labor of love.
Such is the case for Karen Vanover and A.Z. Callicoat. Both are past volunteers of the year at their respective hospitals, Vanover at Integris Bass Baptist Health Center and Callicoat at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center.
‘It’s just rewarding’
Callicoat has volunteered at St. Mary’s since 2002. Besides being one of 18 drivers for the SaintMobile golf carts that transport patients and visitors to and from the hospital, the 2010 volunteer of the year is in charge of the hospital’s Response Link program.
Response Link is a medical alert program provided through St. Mary’s, Callicoat said. At present, around 120 units are in service throughout the area.
“As long as there’s a landline telephone and an electrical outlet, that’s about all we need,” he said.
Participants have a button they can push in event of an emergency, he said. Pushing the button alerts the Response Link call center, which then contacts a friend, neighbor or family member and asks them to check on the patient.
“Somebody that the customer feels comfortable allowing in their home,” he said.
Callicoat, who retired after a 37-year career with OG&E Electric Services, said he began volunteering because “I felt like giving back to the community,” he said. “I just thought that was an important thing to do. You’re a citizen here, support your community.”
Volunteering, he said, is “very rewarding.”
Callicoat said he gets most of his satisfaction from volunteering as the result of his interaction with the people he serves.
“Almost all the people you transport back and forth from the parking lot up here, you interact with them,” he said. “I just like that.”
Callicoat said he encourages people to give it a try.
“I’d say it’s just rewarding,” he said.