The volunteers are of different ages and backgrounds but they are important parts of the daily operations of their healthcare organizations.

It's National Volunteer Appreciation Week April 15-21. Two volunteers, Rayann Wilmot and Pat Mumm, are among the tens of thousands of volunteers who serve in the U.S. and among the hundreds who serve in Stevens County. Wilmot is a junior pre-med major at the University of Minnesota, Morris who volunteers with Stevens Community Medical Center. Mumm is a retired postmaster from Hancock who volunteers at West Wind Village care center in Morris.

Wilmot started volunteering in the spring for her sophomore year. "I had volunteered at home in the public library," Wilmot said.

Because she had enjoyed volunteering at home in Vernon Hills, Illinois and because she wanted more exposure to a hospital, Wilmot contacted SCMC to volunteer.

Mumm said she started volunteering about 12 years ago. Her husband Stan had two aunts at West Wind Village so she was familiar with the care center. When she learned the care center needed help with regular Catholic worship services, she decided to help with that.

She's usually helping people get to the worship service every Tuesday. She will also give the sermon if Deacon Stan Hennen is unable to serve.

"It's a neat thing. You get to know people," Mumm said. "It's enjoyable."

Wilmot too has found she enjoys volunteering. Some days she may be folding patient information pamphlets or other material or taking discharged patients to the front door in a wheelchair. This spring she started as a greeter at the front door of SCMC. She's a greeter from 2:40 to 3:40 p.m. on Thursdays.

Wilmot said she feels valued as a volunteer by SCMC and the public. "Especially as a greeter," Wilmot said. "It's nice to have someone say hi to you...It's nice to have the acknowledgement (as a patient) because going to the doctor can be stressful."

As a greeter she will direct patients to the proper place in the facility. Her Spanish language skills have been useful.

"I'm very glad to use my Spanish skills," Wilmot said. She's been able to help Spanish-speaking patients who have questions about the facility.

Mumm has come to view the residents she works with at the care center as her friends. "It is kind of tough if one of them dies," Mumm said.

She misses the interaction on days when she can't volunteer.

Mumm has not only benefitted from the friendships but also the worship service she shares with the residents. The worship service is focused on the residents. Some services may address the question some residents may have about why they continue to live when others have died, Mumm said.

Such a question prompts a service about God's purpose for our lives and what we may still have to teach or share with others, Mumm said.

Mumm likes sharing her time with West Wind Village residents. She encourages other to consider sharing their time.

"A lot of people don't realize all we do here," Mumm said. While she volunteers for the Catholic worship service, other volunteers work with arts and crafts and other services.

"There is a need for volunteers," Mumm said.

For those who may hesitate or feel uncomfortable, Mumm advised them to visit West Wind Villag and watch volunteers. She'd encourage an interested person to come to the worship service with her.

Wilmot plans on volunteering during her senior year at UMM. She's learned about a small rural hospital and the community while volunteering at SCMC.

"It's smaller than I'm used to," Wilmot said. SCMC's size seems to encourage a relaxed pace and the ability for health care providers to connect with patients and for staff to connect with each other, Wilmot said.

UMM students such as herself who are interested in medical school want to volunteer at healthcare facilities if possible, Wilmot said. SCMC has worked with her class and extracurricular schedule so that she can volunteer when she is able.