By GWEN SISSON
Sometimes, a hospital patient needs a happy face to stop by and say hello.
That is how Jeannie Godbold of the OCH Regional Medical Center’s Auxiliary program describes what members do every day.
“We are also a patient representative,” Godbold said. “When we stop by, if there is a problem, we serve as a go-between to help make them more comfortable.”
While most visitors will see auxiliary members at the help desk or in the gift shop, but auxiliary members also bring magazines, water and juice to patients, and packets for new moms. They conduct survey-type information to help the hospital improve “customer service.” Auxiliary members also raise money to give nursing scholarships.
“We aren’t ‘medical people’ and that difference makes a difference,” Godbold said. “Patients are a lot more relaxed around auxiliary members.”
Godbold said visiting patients can be rewarding.
“People have been very nice and patients really, really appreciate the attention,” Godbold said. “It makes my day.”
“The hospital auxiliary is vital for the hospital’s contact with the community,” said Arthur “Sonny” Kelly, OCH Regional Medical Center Administrator. “Made up of volunteers who unselfishly give of their time to serve the needs of patients and their families, the auxiliary provides many extra touch services that make people feel welcome when they use the hospital’s services. A hospital without an auxiliary is like Christmas without Santa.”
Darlene Comish, auxiliary coordinator for OCH Regional Medical Center, said there are currently 65-70 active auxiliary members who work hard to create a pleasant environment for patients and visitors.
“The volunteers are a vital part of the hospital,” Comish said. “We rely on them to greet our guests, help them find their way around the hospital and check to make sure their stay is satisfactory. They also help the nursing staff with delivery of juice and water and delivery of magazines. As their leader the past two years, Jeanne Godbold has done a tremendous job.”
Godbold said her involvement with the Auxiliary program stems from the wonderful people involved.
“Fran Herring, Helen Thomas, Maurine Langley — they are wonderful women who have made this program great,” Godbold said. “I volunteer with this organization because of the wonderful people.”
Godbold joined the Auxiliary five years ago, when she and her husband, Stanly Godbold, returned to Starkville, after living in South Carolina and Texas. She and Stanly returned to Starkville, where he works as a history professor at Mississippi State University, and has completed his book about Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter. He is currently working on the second in the Carter series.
Young adults throughout the community will remember Godbold as their teacher at the Day School at First United Methodist Church for about 21 years.
Godbold also serves on the board of directors for the Starkville-Mississippi State University Symphony Association. She rejoined her gourmet group and is a member of the SDN Book Club.