When Esther Swan retired from her job as a serologist in 1997, she set out to find opportunities that would allow her to meet new people and get out of the house. Esther visited the hospital gift shop in Barron and realized that it would be a great place to volunteer. She applied to be a volunteer and began working within days. Since then, Esther has been a consistent volunteer, often putting in more than 500 hours of work per year.
Esther volunteers in many different ways to ensure that things run smoothly in Barron. In the dining room, she serves as a cashier during breakfast and lunch. She also helps with transporting patients in wheelchairs and running the gift shop. In the past, Esther planned bingo games for senior citizens in the nursing home.
In her spare time, Esther enjoys solving puzzles and watching game shows. She also volunteers at the local thrift store where she “enjoys finding great deals.” She says that volunteering has been great for her health and that it allows her to meet new people.
“Everyone is so friendly at Northland,” Esther says. “Everyone knows me by my first name, which makes me feel very appreciated and useful.”
Connie Dennis, Volunteer Services, says that Esther is a joy to have as a volunteer.
“Esther goes above and beyond to help our patients, visitors and employees,” Dennis says. “She is so reliable, always willing to fill in for open shifts and does everything with a positive attitude. I just don’t know what we would do without our Esther.”
For many retirees like Esther, volunteering helps with remaining social and staying active. Esther encourages anyone who is interested in volunteering to “go ahead and go for it.” Volunteers must be 14 or older. All ability levels are welcome.