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Friday, Oct. 21, 2016

Cox Monett celebrates its corps of volunteers

Friday, April 24, 2009

Jack Frost is an active volunteer at Cox Monett Hospital. Frost volunteers his time at Cox by playing songs on his keyboard and singing to patients. Shortly after the above photo was taken, Frost sang "Leaning on the Everlasting Love" and "Yes, Jesus Loves Me" to a patient, who sang along with him. [Times photo by Darla Damrill]
At least twice a week, Jack Frost can be found in the hallways of Cox Monett Hospital, wheeling an electric keyboard from room to room where he treats patients to their favorite songs and hymns.

Frost, a long-time Monett businessman now retired, is also an accomplished musician who was a choral directing major in college. At 81 years young, Frost was recently asked to use his musical talents to lift the spirits of hospital patients.

"I get a list of patients that I can visit and then I take the piano to the rooms, stick my head in the door and ask them if I could sing them a few songs," said Frost. "Ninety-nine out of 100 times, they say yes."

Frost says he sings songs of encouragement and old familiar hymns. He always ends each visit by singing a few lines of "Jesus Loves Me."

"Some patients mouth the words and some get up on the edge of the bed and sing out loud," said Frost, who usually visits seven patients during his volunteer outings twice a week. "I can get them to smile by the time I'm done singing."

Frost's contribution is part of Cox Monett's Complimentary Alternative Medicine (CAM) program.

"We find that a person reading a book or a volunteer singing a song or a staff member painting someone's nails is all part of the healing process," said Janell Patton, Cox Monett Hospital's director of community relations and volunteer services.

"I tell Jack all the time that I think he's very privileged," added Patton. "A lot of times, he's allowed to be the one to sing the last song to them and how much more special can that be. That's what it's all about."

Frost is one of a large contingent of volunteers who serve Cox Monett Hospital on a regular basis. This week, the hospital is recognizing its volunteers during National Volunteer Week.

"I have to say my volunteers are very smart. They're witty. They're willing to give back to their community," said Patton. "They're hardworkers, and they give the best gift of all and that's their time."

Each month, there are over 90 shifts of volunteers scheduled who contribute over 5,000 hours of their time each year.

The hospital's current list of volunteers numbers 34 and includes: Natividad Apostol, Marina Bromley, Sharon Burke, Evelyn Burnett, Shirley Claybough, Peggy D. Costley, JoAnne L. Coufal, Marjorie Davidson, Sue Fischer, Michael Friend, Jack Frost, Luella Helmkamp, Lou Ellen Honeycutt, Daralyn Horn, Barbara J. Huffman.

Annalee Huntress, Betty Jarvis, Phyllis Juel, Kathleen Kennedy, Emily Koenig, Marian Merritt, Bonnie Murray, Lenore Nielsen, Vicki Orr, Alice Patton, Jane Patton, Imogene Phillips, Mary K. Scott, Carleen D. Shanks, Pat Stoddard, Dolores Thompson, Florene Towers, Brent Watson and Dylan White.

Cox Monett also offers a junior volunteer program that allows high school students to volunteer at the hospital.

"We have kids from the high school volunteer here every day," said Patton. "I think they're a breath of fresh air. They make beds, wash windows, make cookies in the kitchen, whatever needs to be done."

As an adult volunteer, membership in the Hospital Auxiliary is an option. The Auxiliary is the fundraising arm of the volunteer program, and eight to 12 times a year, Auxiliary members hold fundraisers with 100 percent of the funds going to the hospital. On average, the Auxiliary gives the hospital between $30,000 to $50,000 each year.

"It's a group of 40 individuals who work as hard as if they were a group of 140," said Patton. "The Auxiliary members are committed to helping the hospital succeed and work as ambassadors for the hospital."

In order to volunteer at the hospital, an interested individual must first contact Patton and fill out an application. The process also includes an interview, a criminal background check and signed confidentiality agreements. After the application process is completed, volunteers attend an orientation session before beginning their work at the hospital.

"We try to match a volunteer's interests with different jobs at the hospital," said Patton. "If you're a people person you might work at the information desk. If you are a computer person, we might put you to work in the business office. We try to find a good match."

On May 8, volunteers and hospital employees will be recognized at a jointly held service awards banquet. One volunteer is slated to receive a 5,000-hour pin.

For more information about Cox Monett Hospital's volunteer program, contact Patton at 354-1409.

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