Hospital volunteer meets ‘wonderful people’
Editor’s note: This is the fourth article in a weekly series that highlights 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 — Area resident Jesse Roy has spend the past two years as a volunteer at the Davis Medical Center outpatient path-finding desk assisting patients with getting where they need to go.
Roy’s daughter, Valarie Bright, serves as the volunteer coordinator at DMC and helped get him into volunteering — something he was hesitant about at first but loves now.
“My daughter, since she’s over the volunteers, if someone gets sick or can’t make it, she will call me and I can be here in 15 minutes,” he said.
“At first my daughter tried to get me to do it because I was retired and I said ‘No, I don’t think I want to do that,’ but one day I did do it and I loved it,” Roy continued. “I love doing it and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Roy, 86, said his role is to get people to their destination, noting that he travels numerous miles a day to different corridors in the hospital.
After a patient is registered at the front desk, an employee tells Roy and other volunteers where they are heading.
“They call us on the phone and say ‘Someone needs to go to pre-admission, day surgery, radiology,’ or wherever, and we take people to all different points in the hospital,” Roy said.
His favorite part of volunteering is meeting people; however, he quipped that receiving a free meal isn’t bad either.
“I love meeting all the wonderful people I meet. I meet a lot of wonderful people. One thing about volunteering here is the staff at this hospital, they treat me wonderful. They treat me like something special. And I get a free meal out of it,” he said with a laugh.
He continues volunteering because he likes making people feel more comfortable during their time at the hospital.
“I love being around people, I love to talk and, I know, the people that come here don’t come here because they want to. They are checking on their health and worried about their health. If I can do anything to ease their mind — I try to talk to them a lot to get their mind off what they are here for,” Roy said.
“My favorite thing is when I’m taking people to day surgery north and I have to take them by the cafeteria. I know because of the procedure they are going to have they haven’t had anything to eat or drink, so I say, ‘I know you haven’t had anything to eat or drink but I’m going to take you by the cafeteria to smell the food,’ and that normally breaks the ice.”
Roy said he worked for the Department of Highways for 30 years and covered five counties, including Randolph, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Tucker and Webster. He added that a lot of times, he knows patients from his time working for the DOH.
“I got to know a lot of areas that people come here from,” he said. “They will say they are from Durbin and I will say ‘I knew the mayor down there and I know all them streets back there because I helped pave them back there.’ I know a lot about the areas they come here from.”
Roy said in addition to volunteering, he just likes helping others, noting that he plows neighbors’ driveways and blows snow off sidewalks around the New Life Fellowship school near where he lives.
Roy said he has a family consisting of five children.
“I have a wonderful family. My kids are wonderful kids. I have five kids. I hear from them every day or see them every day,” he said. “They are all local here or in Tucker County. They really take good care of me, and I take good care of them too.”
In his free time, he enjoys fishing and hunting.
Roy said he would encourage people to volunteer because it is rewarding to help people.
“I think they would love it. Give it a try. If you can help people — if you are retired you can sit and watch too much television — it gets you up and gives you a reason to go,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how bad of shape you are in, there is always someone in worse shape. If you are able to move, talk and enjoy life, you are blessed. I am blessed just to be able to work here, and it blesses me when the people treat me so good.
“I try to be good to everybody. I hope I never say anything to offend anybody. I especially like to help people in wheelchairs and older people,” he continued. “You know they are not here because they want to be. They are here because they are concerned about their health and they are worried. If I can do or say anything that may ease their mind a little bit, that’s my goal. I’m blessed. I want people to smile.”
Roy has volunteered for a total of 911 hours, 345 of them this year alone.