“When I came here, I was interested to see if I could work at the hospital,” he said. “My first job was working in the imaging department in the file room. After that I was a patient transporter in the hospital.”

Then he decided to give freely of his time and energy. “I decided to volunteer in the Emergency Department,” he explained. “I’ve worked there as a volunteer for the past 10 years.”

There, Willie assists the staff with cleaning patient rooms and completing clerical work. “I help the ED technicians a lot,” he said. “They are the nicest people I’ve ever met.”

His reason for volunteering? “I love helping people,” he said. “You don’t have to be a doctor, a nurse or a tech to find work or help people.”

Being bilingual, Willie can speak with a wide segment of the hospital’s patient population. “I ask anyone if they need help — employees, or patients who might be lost in the hospital — I show them where to go. I also help in the mailroom and deliver packages throughout the hospital.”

He does it all because of a sense of responsibility to his adopted hometown. “You have to give back to the community. And that’s what I’m doing. Helping the community and the people.”

As it did for everyone, the COVID-19 pandemic changed Willie’s daily life. “I was at home for 4 months for safety reasons when COVID hit,” he said. “There were days I wanted to cry because I needed to get out and volunteer again. When I came back to Geisinger, people told me they missed me. I’m glad to be back and I’m enjoying my routine again. I’ve seen the good and the sadness but have also witnessed positive outcmes all of the time. I hope for more positives in the future.”

Positivity drives Willie, and he encourages others to volunteer at Geisinger. “There’s no reason to be scared — it’s a wonderful feeling to come and help out. Volunteers are what make the hospital move.”

  • Courtesy Geisinger Lewistown Hospital

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