DMC volunteer offers assistance with a smile

The Inter-Mountain photo by Brooke Binns Dave Vandenbergh volunteers for Davis Medical Center at the pathfinding desk, happily greeting visitors.

Editor’s note: This is the first article in a weekly series that will highlight volunteers in the region who have served for many years or who go above and beyond to help local organizations, churches and nonprofit agencies. To make a suggestion, please call The Inter-Mountain’s newsroom at 304-636-2124.

ELKINS — A local volunteer says he finds great joy and reward in giving back to the community and meeting new people.

Dave Vandenbergh has volunteered his time at Davis Medical Center for just over one year.

“I think it’s very important that everybody who has the time and the ability to give back to the community in some way, for them to do so,” Vandenbergh said. “As a people person, I enjoy the contact with other people — and what better place than here at Davis Medical Center where I not only can see people I worked with years ago but I get to help people getting to their destination in the hospital.”

During his time volunteering at DMC, Vandenbergh has volunteered 232 hours, working one day per week. During this time, he serves at the pathfinding desk, helping to escort patients to their destination within the hospital.

“It’s a great service, and it’s great for us as volunteers because we get to talk to patients,” Vandenbergh said. “If you’re a people person, this is ideal because you’re constantly meeting people — not just people from around here, but people who come in from different states, so you get a wide variety.”

When encountering folks at the hospital, Vandenbergh makes sure to greet everyone with a smile to help put them at ease and bring down their stress level.

“When you volunteer, you never know when you become important to whoever you’re helping,” Vandenbergh said. “Most people when they’re coming in, regardless of the procedure or whatever they’re having done, a lot of them are a little frightened.”

He went on to say it is important to be a good, listening ear for some patients who visit the hospital.

“Sometimes you just need to give them a squeeze of the hand and tell them things are going to be all right, and that we really have excellent (doctors and staff) here, so whatever test or procedure they’re having done is going to be done very well and they need not worry so much,” Vandenbergh said.

In addition to volunteering at DMC, Vandenbergh has also volunteered for Meals on Wheels for approximately nine years. He said his time spent volunteering with Meals on Wheels has given him the opportunity to build good relationships with people.

“It’s very rewarding; you can’t beat volunteer work, you really can’t,” Vandenbergh said.

He noted the flexibility of volunteer work is great, and he encourages people to consider volunteering in whatever way possible.

Any additional free time Vandenbergh has is spent being active — he plays senior league golf at the Elks Country Club and enjoys biking.

Vandenbergh retired from the hospital 17 years ago.