Inverness, FL - In spite of National Volunteer Week celebrations being put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CMH Volunteers Inc were able to coordinate and choose two volunteers to honor as their Volunteers of the Year.

“It is almost impossible to choose Volunteers of the Year from the dedicated group that serves CMH,” said Penny Zaphel, Manager of Volunteer Services for Citrus Memorial Hospital. “Our volunteers do an outstanding job every day donating more than 5,000 hours every month to the patients and families who come through our doors. We add that little special touch of love to those who are ill or to their family members.”

Doug Hutchinson volunteers in the hospital’s Emergency Room and knows firsthand the fear patients are experiencing when they arrive. He relieves much of that tension with his infectious smile and cheerful attitude. He was chosen as Volunteer of the Year after serving for 11 years and donating more than 5,000 hours. He is best known for his caring attitude and is instrumental in training student volunteers—sometimes as many as four at a time—to make patients and their families as comfortable as possible.

Dee LaChance has volunteered at the hospital for 15 years, giving more than 6,000 hours of her time. She coordinates the hospital's Comfort Cart, distributing care items to patients who may be in need of hygiene products, something to pass the time or help them sleep. “She never stops thinking about our patients and their family members,” said Zaphel. “When she goes into a room to deliver a newspaper, it is not about the paper. It is about making sure the patient has everything else they need at that time to make their day better.”

A formal presentation honoring Volunteers of the Year will be held in the Fall.