Texoma Medical Center celebrated the hard work of its many volunteers Wednesday afternoon, recognizing their thousands of combined service hours with the TMC Volunteer Annual Award Banquet.

More than 100 volunteers sported their official, baby blue, volunteer button-ups, and filled the Texoma Event Center in Denison for the ceremony, where they sat at round tables and enjoyed lunch with one another. Hospital administrators and staff awarded each volunteer with pins correlating to the total number of hours he or she devoted. Some surpassed 100 hours of service, while other, long-time volunteers logged more than 25,000 hours.

“We’re just so blessed to have them and that they’re willing to give up their time,” TMC Associate Administrator Michael Hall said. “They have such an impact on Grayson County.”

Information provided by the TMC hospital system indicated that volunteers at all of its campuses donated more than 34,000 hours of their time in the last year, doing everything from greeting visitors and their families to independently running the gift shop and assisting discharged patients on their way out of the hospital.

Hall said while patients and their families come to the hospital seeking consultation and treatment from medial professionals, it is the volunteers who are there from the start to the finish of a patient’s stay.

“I think our staff does a wonderful job in caring for our patients, but that first experience you have here, when you walk through the door, is going to be with those volunteers,” Hall said. “And the last experience you have when you leave is with those volunteers. They’re always smiling and always willing to lend a hand if you need it.”

Hall said the personal touch that volunteers provide is key to TMC’s success and the overall care experience patient’s and their loved ones have.

“In a hospital, you go through such a gamut of emotions,” Hall said. “From giving birth, which is one of the happiest moments for a family, all the way up to the difficulty that comes with end of life care. Everybody experiences that to some degree, so it means a lot when someone is there to celebrate with you or to comfort you if you’re sad.”

Sybel Cox was honored for her 2,000 hours of volunteer service, much of which was spent assembling edible, candied coffee cups for sale in the hospital’s gift shop.

“It feels great,” Cox said of the recognition she received.

At 93 years old, Cox said donating her time to TMC keeps her feeling young and is a great way to connect with others.

“I just do it to get out of the house and to so I can do something for somebody else,” Cox said. “I really enjoy being with the people.”

While a handful of TMC volunteers topped 15,000, 20,000 and even 25,000 service hours, no one logged quite as much time as Marion Connelly. After 16 years of volunteering for the hospital system, Connelly has more than 27,500 hours of work under her belt. But, to her, the number isn’t important at all.

“I really don’t care how many hours I’ve got,” Connelly said. “I just love being there to help.”

Connelly encouraged anyone looking for a way to spend their free time, to consider volunteering at the hospital as it offers many opportunities to give back.

“Come join us,” Connelly said. “We have a wonderful time and there are many different jobs. Everybody can find something to do.”