LIMA — Dorothy Thompson raised her arms triumphantly as she accepted the Lifetime Award for her volunteer work with Lima Memorial Health System, displaying the happiness and pride that comes from years of giving back to others.
As she reached the podium, Thompson clapped and danced with so much energy and enthusiasm, you would never know she is approaching 87 years old.
“My daughter calls me the Energizer Bunny,” Thompson said with a laugh.
The longtime volunteer, known around the hospital as “DT,” was one of 130 individuals who were honored at Lima Memorial’s annual Volunteer Recognition Banquet on Thursday afternoon. A total of 150 awards were handed out to those who contributed between 250 and 22,500 volunteer hours at the hospital.
Thompson and fellow volunteer Marjorie Kiracofe took top honors, each receiving the Lifetime Award for 20,000 and 22,500 hours of volunteerism, respectively.
Kiracofe started volunteering with Lima Memorial in 1995 after working as a nurse at Bath schools for 26 years. In her 22 years at Lima Memorial, she has distributed mail and flowers, worked as a surgery hostess and volunteered at the hospital pharmacy. She also knits blankets for newborns.
Thompson has been a volunteer for 21 years, and is still going strong. She has volunteered in nearly every department, including the visitor information desk, gift shop, mail room and pharmacy. She’s also been the social chair for patient service escort, served on the scholarship committee and worked in the emergency room, among other duties.
“Just about every job, I’ve done it,” she said.
Thompson began volunteering at Lima Memorial a couple years after her husband died. With four children living out of state, she said the patients and hospital staff became “my new family.”
“The Lord has been good to me, and I feel very blessed,” she said. “It’s a great honor.”
Another special recognition was the Rookie of the Year Award, which was presented to Dick Nisonger. The award is given to a volunteer with the most hours in their first year of service.
Nisonger donated 291 hours of his time in his first year of service, volunteering as a patient escort. He said he truly enjoys volunteering with the hospital.
“Of course the main thing is that you’re helping people,” Nisonger said. “We get a lot of ‘thank-yous,’ a lot of smiles — it makes it all worthwhile.”
Other milestones announced at the banquet were 1,000-hour and 10,000-hour honors. Five volunteers — Hattie Burden, Carol Casady, Abby Conley, Linda Staley and Calli Stephens — reached the 1,000-hour level in 2016. Vaude Hubbell, Clara Ridenour and Betty Sholler earned the 10,000-hour award.
In all, some 300 volunteers donated more than 70,000 hours of service in 2016.
“They mean a great deal to Lima Memorial,” said Janis Daley, the hospital’s volunteer coordinator. “If we didn’t have any volunteers, a lot of things would not be able to get done. They are full of kindness … and they are very important to us.”
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @Bush_Lima.