2019 Servant’s Heart Award Winner
Feeding those who need assistance
Carol Edmiston, a volunteer at Smyth County Community Hospital and Francis Marion Manor Health & Rehabilitation, is a true giver in every sense of the word.
Eight years ago, Carol read about a local man with polycystic kidney disease who was in need of a new kidney. He was a total stranger, but once Carol heard about him, she donated her kidney and saved his life.
While Carol never paused and has never thought twice about this donation, the gentleman who received her kidney thinks about her every day. He even calls her his “little angel.”
Carol’s volunteer work with Ballad Health doesn’t require her to give up an organ, but she definitely gives it her all every day. In the past five years, Carol has volunteered 2,230 hours, serving at the front desk, leading activities for patients and running the hospital gift shop two days each week. She also serves as president of the hospital auxiliary.
Team members, patients and visitors alike enjoy Carol’s smiling face and cheerful attitude. She doesn’t hesitate to work in any department that has a need, and further, she makes an effort to get to know all of the team members, down to knowing something about everyone’s lives outside of work.
Recently, a volunteer who covers many shifts in the gift shop was ill and unable to work. Carol called every volunteer on the roster to ensure all of the shifts were covered. Without her hard work and dedication, the gift shop would have been closed for multiple days.
Carol has also continued her lifelong passion for speech therapy at Francis Marion Manor by using her expertise to improve nutrition for patients with feeding difficulties. Initially, Carol approached team members to volunteer to feed residents who need extra time and attention. She did this for one meal a day, several days a week, before growing her idea.
Now, through Carol’s Starfish Mission, volunteers help feed residents who do not have family members to help with their care. This is a huge blessing to not only the residents, but also to our nursing staff. Also, for residents without family nearby, Carol makes an effort to visit with them regularly.
Last year, Carol also found out the awning at the manor was in disrepair, and the residents were unable to enjoy sitting outdoors. Carol made contact with each member of the auxiliary board to ensure they understood the necessity and importance of funding a new awning. Residents are now able to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine, which is especially appreciated this time of year.
Carol embodies the entire package of giving back, and she does it all with a smile on her face, knowing she’s making a difference in people’s lives and assuring them someone cares.
Return to the Scott and Nikki Niswonger Servant’s Heart Award page