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Stories

Get inspired with Miami Valley Hospital (MVH) volunteer stories.

Alberta Lee Richardson: Anything But Average

No one has ever called Alberta Lee Richardson "your average woman." Some know her as the impeccable dresser, always in style with no detail undone. Some know her as the dedicated employee of Wright Patterson AFB intelligence unit. Still others know her as the volunteer and social activist from her work with literacy initiatives, the Urban League, and Miami Valley Hospital (MVH). And her family knows her as the one person who would put them before all this to always be there for them.

It seemed there was no stopping Alberta. As she hit retirement, she didn't slow a bit. But suddenly Alzheimer's took its toll. And despite her amazing physical shape, Alberta went from taking care of everybody to someone who needed care herself. Alberta's granddaughter, Cherrill Boone-Young found it unthinkable to put her grandmother in a nursing home with all she had done for everyone she touched. So Cherrill opened her home to Alberta. The commitment was a huge one with Cherrill's existing duties. Cherrill was the head clerk at the Trotwood post office, raising two teenage sons, and caring for her mother who was awaiting a kidney transplant.

MVH's SeniorCare Adult Day services became a way for Cherrill to get excellent care for Alberta and to cope with her impossible schedule. Alberta gets her daily ride to SeniorCare through Project Mobility of the Greater Dayton Transit Authority. Project Mobility's door-to-door service takes Alberta to SeniorCare, where she spends the day. Like many seniors, Alberta has special medical needs. Medical staff at SeniorCare monitor her blood pressure and give her insulin shots.

What's most wonderful is that some of the volunteers that Alberta had served with were now serving her. And the familiar people and surroundings are always a plus for an Alzheimer's patient.

Martha Prophater: Feels Like Family

Martha Prophater started volunteering in a hospital as a teen in Michigan in the role of "candy striper." The term isn't often used anymore, but typically, the programs were for teenage girls who wore red and white striped dresses and did hospital duties, such as changing beds and generally helping out.

After moving to the Dayton area in 1974, Martha joined the Interns and Residents Wives Club at MVH where here husband Robert was doing his internship and residency. Martha participated in this group, conducting hearing tests on babies. Then, Martha and Robert moved to Vandalia, where he set up his practice and they raised a family. Dr. Prophater has remained at MVH doing family practice medicine.

With the children now teens and in high school, Martha volunteered her services again at MVH. She spends one day a week as an integral part of MVH's Cath Lab. Her duties include informing the patient's family in the waiting room about what is happening with a loved one’s treatment. The job is normally part of a physician or nurse’s duty, so Martha’s helps allows them to devote their time to medical care. Martha also files charts, handles paperwork, and other office work.

Martha drives 20 miles every Thursday to volunteer from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The position is filled by a volunteer five days a week. This is her seventh year and Martha says she has done this so long that the staff in the Cath Lab and the Volunteer staff all feel like family to her. What she enjoys most is making the Cath Lab staff's jobs a little bit easier.