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Mon General volunteer number one in state

Posted Date: 10/17/2016
Virginia Jarrett holding award

Virginia Jarrett poses with her Volunteer of the Year awards.

“If God gives me a day, I should do something with it besides eating and watching television,” said Virginia Jarrett, a long-time volunteer at Mon General Hospital who was recently named the Auxiliary of West Virginia Hospital Association (AWVHA) Volunteer of the Year.

Jarrett, who just turned 89-years-old, has been a volunteer at Mon General for 21 years. She has given more than 22,215 hours of service during that time, volunteering at least three days a week and often four or five days. She is a fixture in the hospital’s SurgiCare Department, where she serves as a liaison between the doctors and patient families. And when she is not in SurgiCare, she fills in as needed in the hospital’s Infusion Center and at the main Reception Desk.

The AWVHA Volunteer of the Year is the top honor for a hospital volunteer in West Virginia. Every member hospital in the state nominates one of their volunteers for the honor. From these, a group of judges not affiliated with the AWVHA, reviews the nominations and selects the top volunteer. Jarrett was awarded both Volunteer of the Year and Northwest District Volunteer of the Year at the AWVHA state meeting at the Greenbrier on Sept. 27.

Jarrett worked her entire adult life as the wife of a dairy farmer. She still resides on the farm with her cat, and assorted other critters, including geese, goats and her neighbor’s cattle. The farm is located on 70 acres in Pennsylvania and requires a 30 minute drive to Mon General each day she volunteers.

Why does she volunteer? “I’m retired and I live alone. I’ve always worked with people and I enjoy being with people,” she said. “Volunteering gives me a purpose in life. If I help one person a day, I feel like I’ve earned my day.”

It is the little things that you can do for people that are gratifying to Jarrett. Often patient family members are in SurgiCare for many hours waiting for their loved ones to come out of surgery. She gets to know them and it is not unusual for her to teach a visitor to crochet or for them to exchange favorite recipes.

Volunteering in SurgiCare is only part of what Jarrett contributes to the hospital. She puts together admission packets for patients and is an avid fundraiser for the Mon General Auxiliary. “There isn’t an employee or friend who can say no to Virginia when it comes to a fund raiser or anything else,” said Susan Melenric, President of the Mon General Auxiliary Board. “She steps in to help at every vendor sale. Her bake sale items for the Auxiliary’s Christmas Bake Sale are legendary.”

In recommending Jarrett for the Volunteer of the Year honor, Mon Health System President and CEO Darryl Duncan said “Virginia is nothing short of amazing! She shows no signs of slowing down. Her personality, sense of humor, work ethic and genuine concern for others has made her name synonymous with Mon General Hospital.”

Jarrett has made Mon General part of her family. In fact, her daughter is an Obstetrics Clinical Manager at Mon General and her granddaughter is a Pharmacist at Mon General.

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