Volunteer of the Year
Barbara Robbins, of Clarkston, has been named the St. Joseph Regional Medical Center's 2012 Volunteer of the Year by her peers and Medical Center employees for her outstanding service and dedication.
The award is given to someone who exemplifies the Auxiliary board's purpose, pledge and code of ethics and is dedicated to the mission of St. Joseph. Additionally, the winner demonstrates the ability to work well with others and has volunteered at the Medical Center for at least three years.
Robbins has been a volunteer at the medical center for nearly eight years and has logged nearly 3,400 volunteer hours at St. Joseph. She started as a greeter/receptionist at the west desk, and then moved to the Gift Shop before she was asked to handle publicity on the Auxiliary board where she took pictures for the scrapbook. After a three-month trip to Alaska, she returned to being a volunteer at the Elizabeth Gift Shop and also in Admissions. She also rejoined the Auxiliary board as ways and means chairman. Coordinating the salad bar event and mini-tree auction are part of her responsibilities.
In 2010, Robbins was involved in the Snake River Relay For Life and raised $1,527 for one of the St. Joseph “Healthy Hooters” teams. She also coordinates the wine bottle pull for one of the Auxiliary's major fundraisers, the annual WineFest event. She is currently helping with the Steps to Success program with the Total Joint Center of Excellence and is learning the mail delivery job so she can fill in when needed.
Although her identity isn't kept secret, few know that Robbins also is one of the volunteers who dresses up in the St. Joe Bernard costume to serve as the medical center's mascot.
“Part of volunteering is doing things that make patients and others laugh,” Robbins says. “St Joe Bernard is a real way to make people smile. Some people may say that the best part of that job is that I can't say anything. My handler [Mary Lou Gruber] does all the talking. You even find yourself smiling when no one can see you.”
People who nominated Robbins described her zest for life, cheerfulness, and dedication to St. Joseph as inspiring. They mention how she never says no to any request and not only is willing to do anything, but also does it with a positive attitude.
“Barbara does her work with candid enthusiasm and is a joy to be around,” one person wrote in nominating her. “She is very deserving and a real team player.”
“She makes patients feel cared for and important and never hesitates in asking if she can help get the patient where they need to be,” another wrote. “Barbara is an outstanding volunteer, one who gives everything she has to our organization.”
Barbara and her husband, Jerry, spent most of their married life in Spokane. He was a detective with the Spokane police department, and she retired in 1989 after 25 years working in the accounting and payroll department of West Coast Grocery/Super Valu Inc.
She started her volunteer work that same year with the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery and in 1990 was awarded the Child Advocate Volunteer Award.
Her husband then retired and the couple moved to St. Regis, Mont., where they built their dream log cabin home on the Clark Fork River. Robbins began volunteering at the local school in St. Regis, and when the couple traveled to Yuma, Ariz., for the winter, she volunteered for the Yuma School District and took a crash course in Spanish to help children who were struggling with English.
After the birth of a grandson at the University of Washington Medical Center–he weighed only 2 pounds at the time–the couple moved to Winchester, Idaho to be with family. They then moved Clarkston. When their grandson, Dirk, started grade school, Robbins drove to Craigmont to volunteer in his class. During the winter, when roads were unsafe, she volunteered at Asotin Elementary once a week. She later volunteered at Beacon Christian School.
In 2001, she began volunteering at St. Joseph and also was a volunteer for the Vietnam Memorial Wall when it was in Lewiston. She has volunteered at the Family Promise House and currently volunteers weekly at Heights Elementary School in Clarkston.