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WMC volunteer creates thousands of angels for families during times of mourning, grief

Fifteen years ago, Nancy Wright volunteered to carry on a young tradition at Williamson Medical Center that provided comfort to families following the loss of a loved one.

The tradition involved constructing little cloth angels out of hospital bed sheets. After the initial volunteer who made them had left, Wright, who had been volunteering at WMC for only a year, instantly found it in her heart to continue the anonymous gesture of love.

More than 3,500 angels later, Wright can’t see herself doing anything less.

“It was something I wanted to do,” she says. “It makes you feel like what you’re doing is worth something.”

Four types of angels are made for patients: adult angels, little blue and pink angels for all discharged newborns and little yellow angels for parents mourning the loss of a baby.

Recently four other volunteers have helped piece together some of the angels, but Wright continues to produce the majority of them.

She spends roughly six hours every week at home cutting and piecing together the cloth angels, which stand no taller than five inches.

On the adult angels reads a saying, “Guardian Angels are always at your side to watch, protect ... forever be your guide.”

‘Gift from the heart’

Every angel is made the same way, but the impression it leaves on each family is unique.

They’re viewed as symbols of hope and healing, mourning and remembrance. They’ve been placed in caskets and on mantels and Christmas trees. One angel even was passed down to a granddaughter on her wedding day. The little guardian, representative of her grandfather, sat in her bouquet as she walked down the aisle.

“It’s special because it’s made with so much love,” says Gwen Pullen, pastoral care coordinator at WMC. “Nancy neither gets paid to make them nor does she place her name on them. It truly is a gift from the heart. The patients and families appreciate them so much.”

Lifetime of service

The handmade angels are a “sweet touch” on top of everything else the volunteers do for patients and their families, says Angie Birkemeyer-Jones, who began overseeing the Volunteer Program in 2007.

“The commitment our volunteers share with patients and their families shows that every one of us can continue to make a difference throughout our entire lives,” she says.

Volunteers are an essential part of Williamson Medical Center. In addition to giving generously of their time—to the tune of 18,000 hours in 2011—WMC’s Volunteer Auxiliary donated more than $100,000 last year to support projects that benefit the Medical Center’s patients and programs. Volunteers provide many services at the Medical Center including staffing the information desk, delivering flowers and mail to patients, providing toys for children undergoing surgery, and operating The Gift Shoppe.

Williamson Medical Center, a 185-bed hospital fully accredited by The Joint Commission, provides comprehensive inpatient and outpatient care including emergency services, with credentialed physicians in 53 specialties and sub-specialties. The community-focused hospital offers a wide range of wellness services, screenings and classes.

For information about Williamson Medical Center, visit www.williamsonmedicalcenter.org.

Posted on: 12/18/2012

 
 

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