Nell Sutkus, 96, of Oak Lawn has been a dedicated volunteer at Little Company of Mary Hospital (LCMH) for 30 years. Most recently, on Friday, October 28th, LCMH congratulated and celebrated Nell when she received the PLOWS Council on Aging Senior Recognition Award.
After growing up in Grand Rapids, MI, Nell and her husband moved to the Beverly/Mt. Greenwood area of Chicago, where they resided for many years with their children. After her husband passed away, Nell moved to Oak Lawn and decided she wanted to become involved in the community. She began her volunteer work at LCMH by assisting the hospital Volunteer Resources staff with clerical work. Nell greeted each person she would meet with a warm, welcoming smile and quickly became well-known by many in the organization. Always making time to listen, converse and joke with everyone she encountered, Nell eventually took the lead on distributing mail throughout the hospital to patients.
Today, 30 years later, Nell continues her rounds throughout the hospital in addition to assisting with projects such as sending birthday cards to physicians, addressing and mailing out greeting cards to discharged patients, answering phones, sewing labels on hand-knitted blankets, and filling hundreds of patient folders each week, just to name a few. Nell always is looking to learn something new and, at 96 years young, she most recently has been honing her computer skills.
“I think it is so important to stay active and keep your mind sharp,” said Nell. “Volunteering at LCMH allows me to do this while having the opportunity to interact and become acquainted with people from all walks of life.”
When she is not volunteering at LCMH, Nell spends her time volunteering for the Cenacle Retreat House and is a member of both the Professional and Business Women Club and the Oak Lawn Senior Group. Recently, Nell coordinated a project with the Oak Lawn Senior Group to make “OOPS Pads” made out of fabric, towels, sheets and mattresses to donate to LCMH Hospice patients.
“We have been blessed by both Nell’s presence and her contributions. She exemplifies the vitality, enthusiasm and charisma that make her a true asset to LCMH,” said Carol Martinez, Manager of Volunteer Resources at LCMH. “Her quick wit and friendly attitude to all she comes in contact with has made her a loving gift not only to our volunteer team but to our entire hospital.”
The volunteers at LCMH play a vital role in the organization and are an integral part of the hospital’s mission. There are a number of ways in which volunteers can get involved, including: Assisting on inpatient units, central transportation, emergency department, surgical, and visitor reception areas to greet and welcome patients and families; Delivering flowers, mail and menus; Community education activities; Literature and mailing preparation; Raffles and vendor sales and other special hospital events; Clerical assistance, such as telephones and filing.; Hospital gift shop; and much more.
“Each person I have encountered over my 30 years at LCMH has just been so friendly and has made an impact on my life,” said Nell. “I enjoy that I get to end each day feeling like I made a difference and I feel blessed that I get to be a part of the Little Company of Mary family.”
If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a volunteer, or for more information on volunteer opportunities, please contact the LCMH Volunteer Resources department at 708.229.5280.