Helen BurkettHelen Burkett, at Smyth County Community Hospital, is one of our three volunteers to receive a 2014 Servant’s Heart Award, Mountain States’ highest honor. She’s spent more than 50 years volunteering her service to Smyth County and is a great advocate for residents at Francis Marion Manor Health and Rehabilitation.

The Servant’s Heart Award honors team members, volunteers and medical staff members who model the philosophy of patient-centered care. Mountain States introduced the Servant’s Heart Award in 2004 for team members and in 2006 for medical staff members. They are recognized by their peers for exemplifying the meaning of being a caregiver.

Helen coordinates the volunteer program at Francis Marion Manor. She role-models our Ten Guiding Principles of Patient-Centered Care all day, every day as she volunteers. Her husband and mother are both residents of the Manor, so she’s there seven days a week. And she looks after all the patients as though they, too, are her relatives.

Helen does everything she can to provide loving care to the residents, and to provide them with choices. She knows and befriends all of the residents, meets their families and listens to the families’ thoughts about how to comfort their particular resident. She serves on the Smyth County Auxiliary Board and not only asks for donations to benefit the residents or give them something to open or look forward to, but she comes back to the board with examples of what each person enjoyed receiving. As Helen conveys the residents’ appreciation of these items, you can see in her face and hear in her voice all the care and concern she feels for “her” residents.

Helen feels that by being consistent in her time at the Manor, she is providing comfort and care in a healing environment just by her appearance and by talking and listening to the residents as though she were talking to her dearest friend.  She is an example to all the other Manor volunteers, providing loving care and encouraging the others us to do the same. The Manor volunteers look to Helen for leadership and direction as she actively recruits in the community, regularly bringing in new volunteers not by what she says but by what she does.