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Saint Francis honors volunteers at annual banquet

Grand Island, Neb. — Donna Sanders and LaVerne Webb were recognized on Wednesday, April 11, during Saint Francis Medical Center annual Volunteer/Auxiliary banquet at the Grand Island Mid-Town Holiday Inn.

Sanders, who served nearly 30 years as director of the Auxiliary Board, was presented with the Lifetime Honorary Auxiliary Member Award. Webb, who volunteers at the Information Desk and Cafeteria, was honored as the 2011 Volunteer of the Year.

Kathie Degen, executive volunteer buyer, on behalf of all volunteers and supporters of “Visiting Ours” Gift Shop, presented a check for $55,000 to Dan McElligott, Saint Francis president/CEO. All proceeds from the Gift Shop go back to patient care and the $55,000 raised this year was a record.

Sanders’ leadership began in the 1970s when she began her employment for Saint Francis in public relations, which included coordinating volunteers, and she later became the Marketing director and then vice president for Mission/Community Outreach and the administrative lead for Excellence in Customer Service.

From 2003 to December 2011, Sanders was VP for Mission and Corporate Responsibility Officer before her recent change in roles to assistant division corporate responsibility officer and privacy coordinator for CHI Nebraska. Part of being involved with the Auxiliary is helping to make Grand Island a healthier, happier and stronger community.

Sanders’ community involvement included: Central Nebraska Area Health Education, Cattleman’s Ball, Multicultural Coalition, Medical Friends of the Festival Committee, Central NE Allied Health Education Center, Third City Community Clinic, Nebraska Coalition for Compassionate Care Operations Board, School District of Grand Island Infrastructure Review Committee, Community Youth Council, Community Humanitarian Resource Center, Central Nebraska Community Service, YMCA, Alliance for Building, Community Strengths, American Cancer Society and Community Arts Resource Personnel.

For most of Sanders’ career at Saint Francis, she has been responsible for the Auxiliary Board which she directed. Over the years, under the leadership of Sanders, the Auxiliary had the responsibility of allocating funds from Gift Shop proceeds as well as fund-raising for scholarships provided to both traditional and non-traditional students interested in the healthcare fields.

“Donna not only demonstrated good will through her work with the Auxiliary, but also in her leadership and partnership with me for the past 28 years, a relationship role that is changing this year, as Donna has transitioned into her new role for corporate responsibility with CHI,” said Chris Sullivan, Saint Francis Volunteer Services manager. “In her job for Saint Francis and community involvement, she has demonstrated to be an excellent ambassador for Saint Francis Medical Center.”

Webb decided to start volunteering after his wife’s death and, according to his family, he wished he had started volunteering a lot sooner. In a span of four years, Webb has been nominated for the Volunteer of the Year award three times for his outstanding service, which affects multiple areas of the hospital, impacting customer and employee relations.

Webb’s volunteer activities include greeting customers to the hospital, assists in the cafeteria, as well as the Wellness Center. He has donated 956 hours of service in the past four years.

“Besides this volunteer’s nice, friendly, respectful personality, he is very deserving of special recognition because he has shown a personal commitment to be outstanding at what he does,” said Jenny Roush, Saint Francis Wellness Education coordinator. “LaVerne is committed to performing great at whatever he does, mindful of privacy of patients and flexibility with staff. He is a compassionate man and that is portrayed through his volunteer work with customers and the employee body.”

About Saint Francis Medical Center

Saint Francis Medical Center is a nonprofit faith-based hospital serving Central Nebraska with state-of-the-art healthcare services. A new patient tower was completed in 2007 with 159 acute-care patient rooms, including the Family Birthing Center, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Intensive Care Unit and a 10-bed inpatient rehabilitation unit. Saint Francis also operates a Cancer Treatment Center in Grand Island and Hastings, a Skilled Care Unit and an alcohol and drug treatment center.

About Catholic Health Initiatives

Saint Francis Medical Center is part of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), a national nonprofit health organization with headquarters in Englewood, Colo. The faith-based system operates in 19 states and includes 73 hospitals; 40 long-term care, assisted- and residential-living facilities; two community health-services organizations; two accredited nursing colleges; and home health agencies. In fiscal year 2011, CHI provided more than $612 million in charity care and community benefit, including services for the poor, free clinics, education and research. With annual operating revenues of approximately $9.6 billion, CHI is the nation's third-largest Catholic health care system.