CONTACT: M. “Peggy” Salisbury 908-771-5730;
Norma T. Sheld 908-771-5815

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 18, 2008

Runnells Honors Volunteers at Awards Ceremony & Luncheon

runnells - volunteers

Barbara Baldasarre, MS, RN, RUNNELLS’ Administrative Director of Professional/Support Services (left); Joseph Sharp, LNHA, Administrator of RUNNELLS Specialized Hospital of Union County (second from left); Union County Freeholder Chester Holmes, RUNNELLS’ liaison (third from left) and Freeholder Chairwoman Bette Jane Kowalski congratulated volunteers Pasquale “Pat” and Anita DiFabio of Garwood. The DiFabios were presented with plaques for serving as volunteers at RUNNELLS for fifteen years.

Pat DiFabio has donated 1,900 hours to the patients and residents of RUNNELLS by volunteering his time at special events and out-trips as well as his membership on The Volunteer Guild of RUNNELLS Specialized Hospital including his persuasive salesmanship with the Guild’s 50/50 tickets.

Anita DiFabio has donated 600 hours as a dedicated member of the hospital’s Friendly Visitor program. This program extends the hand of friendship to residents who don’t have family or friendship contacts. Visitors may converse with residents, help with correspondence and escort residents to the patio for fresh air.

 

runnells - volunteers

Special Five-year Award Recipients received certificates of appreciation. (Left to right) Barbara Baldasarre, MS, RN, RUNNELLS’ Administrative Director of Professional/Support Services; Joseph Sharp, LNHA, Administrator of RUNNELLS Specialized Hospital of Union County; Union County Freeholder Chester Holmes, RUNNELLS’ liaison and Freeholder Chairwoman Bette Jane Kowalski join five year RUNNELLS volunteers who proudly show off their volunteer certificates of appreciation - Alfred Nielsen of Watchung who donated 1,000 hours by assisting in the facility’s coffee shop; Edith A. Diffenderfer of Summit who donated 106 hours by volunteering at the weekly bible study class; Sharon Thomas of Martinsville, Guild Recording Secretary and a Gift Shop volunteer who has given

570 hours of service; Joseph Inserra of New Providence, a 700 hour volunteer who escorts residents and patients to and from Occupational Therapy and Vivian Deland of Berkeley Heights, a volunteer in the hospital’s coffee shop, who has donated 215 hours of service at RUNNELLS.

 

runnells - volunteers

(left to right) Union County Freeholder Chester Holmes, RUNNELLS liaison looks on as Freeholder Chairwoman Bette Jane Kowalski presents a  resolution from the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders in honor of RUNNELLS volunteers to Patricia Scott, AD of Union, Director of Volunteer Services and Activities Therapy for RUNNELLS Specialized Hospital and Joseph Sharp, LNHA, RUNNELLS Administrator. The resolution, presented at the 44th Annual Volunteer Awards Ceremony & Luncheon, noted that the volunteers are strongly committed to unselfishly serving and assisting those in need and devoted countless hours to the well-being and comfort of the residents and patients at RUNNELLS.

 

runnells - volunteers

Union County Freeholder Chairwoman Bette Jane Kowalski (second from left) and Freeholder Chester Holmes, RUNNELLS’ liaison (second from right) presented plaques to RUNNELLS volunteers with an astounding 30 years of service. Receiving the plaques were: Phyllis Sequeira of Berkeley Heights (left), who has donated 4,053 hours by helping at Catholic mass services, baking special treats that are sold at RUNNELLS’ coffee shop as well as singing with and for the facility’s residents; Mary Zoufaly of Watchung (center), who has donated 4,955 hours by volunteering to help at bingo and Peter Sequeira of Berkeley Heights (right), who has donated 7,626 hours by volunteering with the Guild and at Catholic mass services, on special trips, at the coffee shop, singing with and for RUNNELLS’ residents and as part of the Friendly Visitor program.

 

Members of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the administrative staff of RUNNELLS SpecializedHospital of Union County gathered at the Westwood in Garwood to honor the 274 individual RUNNELLS’ volunteers and 59 groups at the 44th annual Volunteer Awards Ceremony and Luncheon.

RUNNELLS’ selfless volunteers, whose primary goal is to make RUNNELLS’ residents’ and patients’ lives more pleasurable, were commended by the Freeholder Board for their generosity and exceptional dedication in assisting the residents and patients of RUNNELLS Specialized Hospital. They help with a wide range of tasks including wrapping holiday gifts for the facility’s residents and patients; escorting them to religious services; working in the gift and coffee shops; providing companionship for long term care residents; assisting beauticians and on a weekly basis delivering menus and assisting residents in making menu selections to name a few.

“It was said that you will find as you look back upon your life, that the moments that stand out are the moments when you have done things for others,” observed Freeholder Chester Holmes. “I know that the times that the volunteers helped the residents and patients of RUNNELLS will stand out as some of the best for them.”

Last year volunteers gave a total of 23,962 hours of service at RUNNELLS. If the County had to pay for their services it is estimated that it would have cost $383,392.

“Freeholder Holmes and I want to thank the volunteers for everything they do,” said Freeholder Chairwoman Bette Jane Kowalski. “They help in a wide array of ways from serving meals at candlelight dinners to escorting individuals in wheelchairs to occupational or physical therapy. Their aid is a vital part in making RUNNELLS more than an outstanding facility. It makes RUNNELLS a friendly place for patients and a special ‘home’ for our residents. If you want to give something back, being a volunteer for the residents and patients of RUNNELLS is a great way to do it. Whether you are able to volunteer frequently or not, your assistance is appreciated and welcome. Volunteers don’t work for money; they earn what matters more, smiles, getting thanked and satisfaction.”

The Office of Volunteer Services of RUNNELLS Specialized Hospital is always interested in recruiting volunteers. Flexible hours and a variety of opportunities exist. Other volunteer opportunities at RUNNELLS include, but are not limited to:

Assisting office staff with clerical work
Helping patients and residents with hearing or eyesight difficulties to play games like bingo and bridge
Visiting residents, taking orders for personal care items, shopping for the items and bringing them back to residents.

Anyone who would like further information should call the Office of Volunteer Services at
908-771-5847. RUNNELLS, located at 40 Watchung Way, Berkeley Heights is easily accessible from Routes 22, 24, and 78.