By Bruce Stambaugh
Jane Voltz, of Killbuck, Ohio epitomizes the role of a volunteer. She loves the work, but doesn’t want any of the notoriety. Her efforts are reward enough.
Voltz, 70, has been a volunteer with the Joel Pomerene Memorial Hospital auxiliary in Millersburg, Ohio off and on for 30 years. Next year, she will be its president.
That’s why she is looking for yet one more volunteer to replace another volunteer position she has held. Voltz has served as the local Medicare advocate. Because she is once again about recent changes to Medicare, and how the annual open enrollment time, which expires Dec. 31, works.
The Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program at the Ohio Department of Insurance is sponsoring the workshop. It is billed as a way to stay informed, stay healthy and to save money for those enrolled in Medicare.
“This would be a good opportunity for someone to explore what is involved in the position,” Voltz said. “Of course, everyone with questions about Medicare can attend.”
For Voltz, Pomerene Hospital has been a second home. Aside from her extensive volunteering roles, she has worked at the hospital for 35 years.
“I started in 1956 as a nurse’s aide,” Voltz said. She retired 25 years later, and then returned “as a back up to the back lab currier,” as she put it.
“I like spur-of-the-moment things like that,” she said. Voltz cited a Sunday morning call she received to make a run to another hospital for the lab as an example of how her immediate assistance is needed.
Voltz said she considers the hospital staff and volunteers her second family.
“We are very fortunate to have this hospital,” she said.
Voltz said in the process of helping visitors and patients at the hospital, she gets to see people she hasn’t seen in awhile. Voltz said she is only one of at least 100 volunteers who make up the auxiliary.
Voltz said the main roles of volunteers include transporting patients within the hospital, especially department to department, and delivering flowers to patients’ rooms.
She said the auxiliary depends solely on fundraising in order to provide funds for items that are needed, but don’t make it into the hospital’s budget. Profits from the gift shop, uniform sales, poinsettia sales, book sales and bake sales all contribute money to pay for auxiliary donations.
“We work closely with the Pomerene Hospital Foundation,” Voltz said. “The auxiliary recently bought a $6,000 ice machine for the dining area.”
Voltz said she has been the Medicare advocate for the hospital since 1992.
“I want to spend time with my grandchildren,” she said. “There has to be somebody out there who is willing to do this needed service.”
Voltz has a son and a daughter and four grandchildren. She also has five stepchildren, 13 step-grandchildren and 13 step-great-grandchildren. Her first husband, Harold Garver, died in 1970, and her second husband, Dwight, died in 2004. Voltz had stepped away from her volunteer work for a while to care for Dwight, who had Alzheimer’s disease.
Voltz was born and raised in Killbuck, and is a graduate of Killbuck High School. In addition to helping with her grandchildren, Voltz said she likes to travel.
“Anyone who says they don’t know what they would do if they retired needs to know there are many ways to help as a volunteer,” Voltz said.
“We have to enjoy each day because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.”
Voltz used her mother as her inspiration for volunteering. She said her mother would donate items to the Volunteers of America truck whenever it came around.
“Everyone should volunteer for something,” Voltz said. “Your payment is the satisfaction of helping someone.”
During her long career as a volunteer, Voltz certainly has received a great deal of satisfaction from her efforts. Her hope now is that someone will pick up her role as Medicare advocate before the end of the year.
Anyone interested in the Medicare advocate position should contact Voltz by calling the hospital at 330-674-1015.
By Bruce Stambaugh
Someone had to be first.
Amrit Rajbanshi is the first person from Nepal to serve in the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) program dubbed IVEP, short for International Volunteer Exchange Program. Of all the places in the United States he could have gone, Millersburg gets to be the recipient of his services.
Rajbanshi is serving as a volunteer at the Save and Serve Thrift Store on South Washington Street in Millersburg through next July. The 18-year-old is a first year college student majoring in business.
He arrived in the U.S from Nepal on August 11, and spent his first week participating in an orientation in Akron, Pennsylvania. He is one of 48 IVEP’ers from around the world who are serving in the U.S. through MCC this year.
“I feel blessed to have been chosen to be the first from Nepal to serve in the IVEP program,” Rajbanshi said. He said he chose to volunteer in a thrift shop to learn hands on business skills.
“I have already had several practical experiences,” he said, “compared to simply studying the theory of business in school.”
At Save and Serve, Rajbanshi has been assigned to work at several different stations, including repairing electronics, arranging clothing, serving as cashier, and handling the store’s online used book sales.
Rajbanshi starts each day at 8 a.m. sweeping in the store. He admitted that at first he thought that task was a bit menial for him. But he soon understood that it was an essential part of the IVEP process.
“I realized that if I don’t do the work, then who will do it?” Rajbanshi said, revealing wisdom beyond his years. “This is not only for me. It’s for MCC and all those who come after me.”
Rajbanshi is staying with Stan and Marilyn Kamp of Millersburg. His expenses are covered through MCC and Save and Serve and he receives an $80 monthly stipend for personal needs.
“I feel very welcome here,” he said. “I’m adjusting to the culture.”
Rajbanshi said his hometown in Nepal has a population of 100,000. But he is also used to the country since his father, Meghnath, is a pastor at a rural Brethren in Christ church in Nepal.
Family is very important to Rajbanshi, and he did acknowledge being a little big homesick. Besides spending time with his family, he said he enjoys soccer, chess and working on the computer.
Rajbanshi has two sisters, Urmila, who is a high school teacher and is studying for her master’s degree, and Punam, a high school student. His mother, Chandrabati, is a homemaker.
“I respect my father very much,” Rajbanshi said, “because unlike most others in our culture he treats woman equal to men.”
“IVEP is a very good program and opportunity,” Rajbanshi said. “It is nice to be introduced to the new culture.”
Rajbanshi said he is still learning English, although he speaks English very well. According to Helen Glick, co-manager at Save and Serve, knowing English is a requirement in order to be considered for IVEP.
Rajbanshi said he views being an IVEP’er as a form of peace building.
“I get to know and learn new people and a new culture,” he explained, “and when I go home I can tell my people what it’s really like here.”
Rajbanshi expressed a concern that neither his people nor those of other Asian nations really know what America is like and vice versa. Fortunately, he won’t have to do all the sharing on his own.
“MCC has lots of programs in Nepal in conjunction with the Brethren in Christ Church,” Rajbanshi said. In Nepal, MCC mainly supports efforts to equip grassroots community workers to build peace in their own context. They support education in settings from Nepal’s capital, Katmandu, to a remote mountain stone quarry where children work along side their parents.
Rajbanshi said Nepal is a country in political transition, moving from a Hindu state to a secular republic. He said the government has another year to complete that change.
“By the end of my year here,” Rajbanshi said, “I will use my experience in my schooling.” But true to his nature, Rajbanshi’s goal doesn’t stop there.
“I will try to inspire others to participate in the IVEP program,” he said. IVEP is aimed at young adults, 18-30.
This story appeared in the Holmes Bargain Hunter.