Regional recognizes volunteers
Most people who stay at Rapid City Regional Hospital have no idea who Joyce Bjork is. But they should.
Many of them have a piece of her in their homes.
Bjork, 72, who has clocked 16,000 volunteer hours at the hospital since 1981, has been incredibly active with the hospital's sewing unit, which makes bibs for every newborn, hats for cancer patients, bereavement gowns for babies who do not survive, heart pillows to ease the pain of those who have cardiac surgery, gowns for children visiting siblings in the NICU and teddy bears for pediatric patients going into surgery.
Last year alone, the group of eight made 3,700 items. In the past decade, they've created more than 30,000 items.
Bjork, of Rapid City, was honored with other volunteers during the Volunteer Appreciation and Awards Brunch hosted in mid-April by the hospital.
In the early ’80s, Bjork began going once a week with her mother to the hospital sewing unit. Now, she volunteers not only with the sewing group, but also in other areas of the hospital, including the Rapid City Regional Hospital Auxiliary, where she serves as the historian for the group that has given back $2.8 million for such things as the auxiliary hospice house and the Children's Miracle Network.
"She's what got me started," Bjork said of her mother, who volunteered well into her 90s.
Although she's created thousands of items for patients, Bjork doesn't get to see a single patient receive their gift.
"It doesn't bother me," Bjork said. "I just know it helps. They feel a little better. With the children, if it just distracts them for a few minutes, that makes me feel good."
Bjork is eager to point to the good work of everyone who volunteers. Last year, 400 volunteers contributed more than 38,000 hours to the hospital.
“The dedication of each and every volunteer is essential to our growth and sustainability at Rapid City Regional Hospital,” said Tim Sughrue, the hospital's CEO, in a press release. “They are an essential part of our care team.”
Other volunteers honored at the event are:
250 hours: Elizabeth Bement-Stump, Mary Blair, Colleen Brezney, Preston Brown, Sean Feehan, Theresa Fink, Dorothy Hall, Diane Hill, Vikki Kelner, Lucille Kerner, Terry Kinsfather, LaReign Munsch, Debbie Myers, Susie Phillips, Betty Schleuning, Marilyn Scott, Barbara Taylor, Frank Webb and Neal Worden; 500 hours: Betty Backus, Janice Beaird, Charlene Frybarger, Sheila Kimball, Judy Mehlhaff, Debbie Myers, Karen Poppe, Donna Smith, Kathy Sopko and Linda Trankle; 1,000 hours: Jo Aarsby, Vivian Bailly, Phyllis Hanks, Mae Hanscom, Jack Jewett, Debbie Myers, Susan Plooster, Mary Stewart and Judy Worden.
1,500 hours: Connie Bruhn, Arlyce Fuhrmann, Dan Gammeter, Kathy Malon and Wilma Theis; 2,000 hours: Bernadette Lambert, Bev Paschke, Bette Stebbins, Ethel Telkamp and Thomas Williams; 2,500 hours: Mary Erz, Emery Magda, Ken May and Cheryl Thompson; 3,000 hours: Claudine Glowcheski and Ilene Johnson; 3,500 hours: Evelyn Knapp and Joyce Opp; 4,000 hours: Mary Bartsch and Carolyn Magda; 4,500 hours: Lila James; 5,000 hours: Shirley Bell, Lila James and Janet Kahler; 5,500 hours: Neltha Norby; 6,000 hours: Carol Miller 6,500 hours: Deb Fredrich and Jane Lofgren.
For more information on volunteering, fill out an application at regionalhealth.com/volunteer or call 719-8980.
Of note from readers
Thank you to the generous individual who anonymously paid for our family's breakfast on April 17 at the Colonial House. It takes an extra-kind individual to pay the tab for a family of six. It was much-appreciated!
— Sarah Williamson
I work in Rapid City and live in Sturgis. I was driving home from work last week, westbound on Interstate 90, when I — embarrassingly — ran out of gas. I had to pull over to the median. I came to a stop shortly before Exit 52 in Black Hawk. I wasn’t familiar with any towing companies in Black Hawk, so I called BJ’s Country Store to find out if they could give me the name and phone number of a nearby towing company. I learned there were no nearby towing companies, but the manager of BJ’s graciously offered to come out to my disabled car and deliver gas to me, for which I was very thankful. Also, I was appreciative of the highway patrol trooper who pulled up behind and waited with me until my help arrived.
— Carrie Ackerman
Our neighbor Larry Kopriva cleans off our driveway, and if the length of the driveway depicts how good a neighbor is, mine is spectacular. We woke up to a ton of snow on Monday morning but with the best neighbor ever clearing the way before work. Thanks to Larry, who has done it for years.
— Julie Martin