Hospital seeks volunteers
LaRene Baker has been offering a kind word and a helping hand at the Colusa hospital for nearly four decades.
Logging 14,162 hours of volunteer time over 38 years, Baker was honored last week by Colusa Regional Medical Center Auxiliary for her commitment and service.
The Auxiliary, an organization currently compiled completely of older women, dedicate their time to raising funds for the CRMC and running volunteer programs.
"LeRene never toots her own horn for anything. She is just a very elegant lady," said Mary Jane Tait, director of Staff Development and Volunteer Services for the CRMC.
Baker chairs the Tele-Care program, which provides a check-in service to elderly people who are confined to their homes.
Tele-Care is open to any person in the community who is homebound and would like for someone to check in with them everyday.
Volunteers for the program call the clients to chat, see if they need anything, and most importantly, make sure they are healthy. If the client doesn't anwer the phone, the volunteer calls a secondary contact. If that doesn't work, they call the police.
"Sometimes we are the only people they talk to all day," said Baker. "If they don't get their call, then they call me to find out what happened."
The Tele-Care program runs with the help of 15 volunteer women and has served dozens of community members. Baker says she enjoys the work because of the people.
"Some of these people I've never seen, but they're like my friends because I've talked with them so often. I feel like I know them really well. We get their aches and pains. One lady just lost her dog, so she cried for two days and we listened," said Baker.
At age 90, Baker is older than many of the people she calls.
"I'm getting so I'm not able to do a lot," Baker admitted. "I don't like it, but it happens to everyone I guess. Sometimes it gets so the ladies that are calling are older than the ones we call."
For that reason, the Auxiliary is seeking new members.
"New blood isn't there," Tait said. "Most volunteers have been with us for a long time. We desperately need volunteers for staffing the gift shop or to visit with patients to bring flowers or newspapers."
"We need new members. Most of us are elderly or older now, and we don't feel like doing as much as we were doing before. So we need younger people and most of the younger women now work, so its hard to get newer members," added Baker.
Baker boasts that every hour of her service has been fun.
"We do it because we enjoy doing it," she said.
"It would be the most rewarding thing that would ever happen to you," Baker said.