The little desk in the front entrance of Victoria Hospital is often home to a friendly face in a blue vest — a Vic Foundation Volunteer Ambassador.
According to Keith and Wilma Coffin, the Volunteer Ambassador plays an important role at the hospital. When either half of this married couple volunteers on Thursdays, they greet visitors and help with parking.
“We try to be helpful to any of them — show them their way and answer their questions,” Wilma said.
“You try to make them feel as comfortable as you possibly can,” Keith added. “It’s rewarding to be able to help people.”
As Lifetime Members of the Guild of Victoria Hospital, Wilma and Keith have thousands of volunteer hours under their belts. Wilma has been volunteering for 35 years and Keith for 24.
“We’re getting to be dinosaurs I think,” Keith said.
Over the years, Wilma and Keith have faced many challenges while volunteering. Wilma said they must consider how illness or stress might affect anyone entering the hospital.
“Some are anxious and some are impatient. Some are angry and some are sad,” she said. “You have to kind of read the person as they come in to know just where you stand.”
However, that doesn’t stop them from loving what they do and spreading joy throughout the hospital. Keith said they would go around with a group of eight to 10 volunteers during the holiday season and sing to patients.
“We dress up,” Wilma said. “He was the town crier, and I [just] came and dressed up in my fancy clothes.”
Wilma and Keith said they love the hospital — a love shown by their years of service to The Vic and their long-time support of The Foundation.
“It has always felt like a family to me over there,” Wilma said.
“They’re always very encouraging to all of the volunteers,” Keith added.
And finally, at the end of the day and outside of volunteering, Keith and Wilma like spending time with their family of four children, nine grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren and with one another.
“We just enjoy each other. We make our meals together. He’s a great fruit plate maker, and I make the muffins — that’s breakfast for us. Lunch is whatever falls out of the fridge, and then we make dinner together,” Wilma said. “We enjoy, just enjoy life and each other.”
Next time you visit The Vic, keep an eye out for Keith or Wilma standing behind the desk at the front entrance. You’ll probably catch them helping somebody with a smile on their face.