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Super volunteer Dean Pace

Provides vital service to Madigan visitors and patients

Red Cross volunteer Dean Pace gives directions to the Faasavalu family. Photo credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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Walking into the Medical Mall at Madigan Army Medical Center (MAMC) for the first time can be intimidating -- first you must navigate the revolving doors, then maneuver around the crowds at the pharmacy and then wonder "where do I go now?"  Luckily, volunteers like Dean Pace wearing cheerful red vests staff an information desk in the lobby to help get you to your appointment on time.

Pace is not your average volunteer; he truly is a superstar.  At age 88, he works an eight- or nine-hour shift and volunteers over 20 hours a week. He has now volunteered at Madigan for 22 years. "I started shortly after the new hospital opened," he said. Pace was drawn to volunteering to have a purpose after no longer working full time. "I heard about it and it looked pretty interesting. It gives me a reason to get up in the morning to go to work. I really enjoy being able to help people."

According to Hylie Jan Pressey, supervisor, Information Desk Volunteers, "The Information Desk volunteers are the front line of patient support. They provide wayfinding for patients and the service of directions. Throughout the facility they help patients navigate to their appointments or visit loved ones.  Patients come in and they are vulnerable because they are sick or nervous because they are having a procedure. Having someone greet and assist them makes a big difference. We have 24 volunteers who man two information desks. Most of our volunteers receive their medical care at Madigan so they know the system and where everything is."

During the recent train derailment and mass casualty event at MAMC, Pace found himself the only volunteer working the information desk. In the midst of this trying time, he was a calm and caring voice. "I just tried to help the families coming in to find their loved ones," he said.  Pace helped those separated from their families to find the Amtrak representative or direct them on to the emergency room.

With a twinkle in his eyes and warm smile for all who stop by the information desk, he is a favorite at MAMC. "Dean is well loved by our patients. People will stop by to see him when they come in and ask about him if he is not working," said Pressey.

Since 1918, the American Red Cross has had an active group of volunteers at Fort Lewis. They have served at Madigan since 1944, during times of war and peace. Red Cross volunteers at MAMC are a vital component to patient support. More than 200 volunteers donate over 55,000 volunteer hours annually.  The Madigan Red Cross Office can always use more volunteers. Options for volunteering in the hospital include: the information desk, patient escort, patient administration, primary care and specialty clinics, pediatrics, and other options.  For more information, call the Madigan Red Cross Office at 253.968.1055. 

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