Volunteers turning compassion into action
By Susie Steckner
Before there was Sun Health, there were volunteers – go-getters who saw the need for a community hospital in Sun City and who marshaled local support and raised funds to open Walter O. Boswell Memorial Hospital in 1970.
They and the hundreds of volunteers who helped staff the hospital may not have realized it at the time, but they were planting seeds of compassion and philanthropy, seeds that continue to bear fruit at the two local medical centers, the research institute and across the West Valley.
Here are the stories of three current volunteers at Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center who are metaphorically working in the health care vineyard.
Throughout her life, Christine “Chickie” Smith has been guided by a simple motto: Pass it on. When someone has done a good deed for you or a deserving organization needs help, give of yourself.
These days, Christine is passing it on as a roving ambassador for Banner Del E. Webb.
“I just thoroughly enjoy it,” Christine says. “It’s social and you feel like you’re helping people.”
Helping people has always been part of her life.
A native Californian, Christine met her late husband Dick when they were students at UCLA, and the couple went on to have five children. Christine later supplemented her degree in physical therapy with an associate’s degree in nursing and forged a part-time career working in various doctors’ offices.
Over the years, Christine has given back to the community in numerous ways, from special-events volunteering and charity quilter to a money counter at her church.
Christine began volunteering at the hospital in 2012 and has served almost 2,400 hours since. Her nursing background and warm personality are a welcome addition to the busy medical center, says Banner Del E. Webb’s Volunteer Coordinator Donna Barr.
“Christine is great with patients, visitors and staff because she has such a calm and friendly demeanor.”
In a 2016 email, surgery nurse Cynthia Frami praised Christine for helping a patient’s husband who had flown a long distance to be with his wife for her emergency surgery. In addition to being tired, the gentleman had limited mobility. Christine helped him get around and stayed by his side from start to finish.
“What a heartwarming and amazing show of customer caring,” Cynthia wrote in the email.
Christine, who lives at The Colonnade and is a Sun Health Foundation supporter, finds volunteering at the medical center to be a heartwarming experience.
“The volunteers and staff become like your friends,” she says. “It’s like a whole family in itself.”
Pearl and Arthur Quast
Pearl Quast thinks of volunteering as holy work. “If I’m physically, emotionally and intellectually able to assist in an enterprise, I feel spiritually bound to do so,” she says.
If there’s a nonprofit in the Valley, there’s a good chance Pearl or Art, her husband, have volunteered there. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, the Sun Cities Art Museum, Theater West, Phoenix Masterworks Chorale and the West Valley Symphony are a few of the organizations they have helped. But Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center holds a special place for them. Pearl has served more than 4,200 hours, and Art has given more than 2,000 hours. They reside at Grandview Terrace, which is within easy walking distance to the hospital.
Pearl and Art, who have three sons, began volunteering at then-Del E. Webb Memorial Hospital soon after moving from Wisconsin to Sun City in 1992 to retire. A former educator and K-12 reading consultant, Pearl fit right in as a volunteer for Webb’s Child Development Center, which provided day care for employees’ children. After three years, Pearl switched to the gift shop, which has been her main base for the past 19 years.
Lori Moreno, the gift shop manager, values Pearl for more than just her years of service. “Pearl is very good at customer service and very attentive to the details,” Lori says.
Art worked in marketing and sales his entire career so when he retired he decided he wanted to volunteer doing tasks that were new to him.
He found a niche in the hospital’s pharmacy, where he volunteered for 25 years. He also gave 25 years to the Sun City West Prides, a volunteer group that keeps the community looking beautiful, and 19 years to the Sun City West Library.
He says he has enjoyed all of it. “I look at these things not as work, but as fun.”
John Tucker contributed to this article.