FAIRFIELD — The medical staff at NorthBay Medical Center often get attention from the public, but behind the scene a number of individuals are helping run day-to-day life at the hospital, tackling unglamorous tasks.
These people give up their own free time to help with some of the more tedious, arduous and thankless tasks. They come from a variety of backgrounds, medical and nonmedical, to lighten the load at NorthBay.
For more than 50 years, hundreds of volunteers, part of the NorthBay Guild, from all over Solano County have helped grease the wheels for everyday life at NorthBay Medical Center.
According to director of public relations Diane Barney, the guild was around before the hospital was. More than 200 volunteers campaigned in 1956 to have to medical center built. A few years later the Intercommunity Memorial Hospital opened its doors.
“If it weren’t for the guild, there would be no hospital,” Barney said.
More than 150 volunteers currently serve the hospital in various departments, from Emergency Services to fundraising services and programs.
During the holidays, both staff and volunteers are putting in extra time to help out patients and families in need. The hospital has numerous tree lightings for several of the departments, different toy giveaways, and additional hospice visits during the holidays to help patients during their last days.
In the A Baby is Coming (ABC) Clinic, medical staff and one volunteer offered low-income families a special treat Thursday with an invite-only Christmas party and gift giveaway. Almost 200 children and babies and about 85 families who might not otherwise get a Christmas gift got one gift and one teddy bear as well as a special visit with a bilingual Santa Claus.
While any pregnant woman can use the clinic, the program is designed for all pregnant women covered by the Partnership Health Plan of California, Medi-Cal and those who have no insurance.
Among the hundreds of volunteers who help out at NorthBay, Carol Kern serves as the lone volunteer for the ABC Clinic. Kern dressed as Santa’s helper to give out gifts and bears to children, and organized gifts by gender and age.
Much of the work Kern said she does are tedious tasks such as filing, sorting, preparing charts and checking forms (though admittedly, she said, she loves organizing).
Kern has volunteered for the hospital for about five years now, but has been a devoted volunteer at numerous organizations her entire life. Whether she’s helping at a baby clinic or volunteering for a wildlife center, Kern said she is in love with giving back, even if it means helping with the more tedious tasks in life.
“It’s not too glamorous, but somebody’s got to do it,” she said. “I’ve been given a good life.”
Reach Heather Ah San at 427-6977 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/HeatherMalia.