2023 Servant's Heart Award Winner
As a volunteer at Smyth County Community Hospital in Marion, Virginia, Carolyn Medley has given more than 3,600 hours to the hospital gift shop and oncology center since 2018, making a difference in the lives of hundreds – if not thousands – of patients, visitors and hospital team members.
Carolyn greets people, both familiar faces and new ones, with a smile and a warm “hello.” Her attention to detail, dedication and willingness to listen to others make up a big part of the success of the gift shop – and proceeds from the gift shop go on to benefit patients and their families. It is not out of the ordinary to find Carolyn in the shop before opening or after business hours, getting things ready or spending extra time accommodating customers.
She also assists at the hospital’s cancer center. As the COVID-19 pandemic waned, and volunteers were permitted to resume their duties, the oncology department was in need of volunteers, with some people understandably cautious about coming back in person. Carolyn saw the need and answered the call for help.
At the center, her warm smile fills the hearts of team members, physicians and patients alike. She goes the extra mile in assisting patients with their needs during their treatment times – talking with them and their families and continuously looking for ways to help. Carolyn will bring in snacks and goodies to the cancer center for team members patients and their families. Even if it goes unnoticed, even the smallest act can change the trajectory of someone’s outlook during a time when there seems to be no stable ground. This is an important aspect of the overall delivery and care from a holistic approach.
"At the center, her warm smile fills the hearts of team members, physicians and patients alike."
Then, after working an eight-hour volunteer shift at the hospital, Carolyn frequently keeps her three great-grandchildren until their parents get home from work, fixing them dinner and putting them to bed. After her babysitting duties are finished, she goes home and gets ready for another day of volunteering – which has always been in her makeup, as prior to her volunteering at the hospital, she diligently contributed to her church, as well as to a local thrift store.