Volunteers honored for hospital service

COVINGTON - The Newton Medical Center Auxiliary recently honored volunteers for their hours of dedicated work at a luncheon in their honor.

Longtime volunteers Lee Aldridge and Jim Means were surprised to receive the President's Volunteer Service Award. Established in 2002, the award is given to those who serve others by volunteering a minimum of 4,000 hours over their lifetime.

"It's not every day that you receive a letter from the president," said Means, who has logged more than 4,000 volunteer hours over the past 11 years in the Outpatient Department. "I really didn't expect that, but I am very proud to receive it."

Means worked for 33 years in the Planning and Development Department for the U.S. Public Health Department.

"I have the time now to give something back," he said. "I enjoy helping the patients and the staff and I look forward to my work every day at the hospital."

Means is also active with Eastridge Community Church and Rainbow Ministries.

Aldridge has volunteered at the hospital for 10 years with a total of 4,500 hours of service.

"I am honored to receive the President's Award, and I love volunteering at Newton Medical Center," she said. Aldridge volunteers with the medical center's First Steps Program, The Wishing Well Gift Shop and Patient Services.

"Every morning, I ask God to direct me in the right place," said Aldridge, a retired high school science teacher. "Many times I have been able to help patients because I've been in a similar situation and understand their concerns."

Aldridge also volunteers with other organizations and was selected Woman of the Year in 2008 by the Covington Clean and Beautiful Commission.

Special guests at the luncheon were Minnie Henderson, Chloe Bickford and Sue Freeman, who were inducted into the auxiliary's Super Stars Program, for those who contributed hours of volunteer service to the medical center but are no longer able to fulfill regular service.

Auxiliary Board Liaison Ester Williams presented Cindy Johnson with a pin recognizing her as the volunteer with the most hours served - 9,500 hours in the hospital pharmacy.

Bernie Durden, who makes sure the coffee is always fresh for the ICU waiting room, received special recognition for her 30 years of service to NMC.

Sixty-six other volunteers were recognized for service hours ranging from 100 to more than 9,000.