Hours pile up, but volunteer says work is a labor of love

Huntington native Ruth Hoffman has been volunteering at the VA Hospital in Marion since 1965. Hoffman says it's her way of saying thanks to the veterans.
Photo by Andre Laird.

When it comes to volunteering tireless hours of service, Huntington native Ruth Hoffman is a perfect example.

Hoffman has been volunteering at the Veterans Association Hospital in Marion for more than 40 years.

As of Wednesday, Jan. 14, she had logged 25,967 hours, the equivalent of approximately 3,246 eight-hour days.

"I started volunteering on Jan. 15, 1965," states Hoffman. "My late husband Paul served the Army as a military police officer for four years."

At that time Hoffman says she was also hospital chair of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary.

"The auxiliary sponsored nine hospital parties each year," she notes. "There were also a number of ways that you could volunteer your time."

Hoffman adds that some of her earlier duties included working in a sewing room, in the laundromat.

"We did minor mending of garments, anything from sewing on buttons to fixing small rips on clothing," she states. "I've also worked in occupational therapy and in the patient library."

Hoffman's longest and current stint as a volunteer involves helping out in the hospital pharmacy.

"Some of my duties included putting caps on pill bottles, labels on prescription bags and filling out paperwork that is mailed out by registered mail," Hoffman says. "I started working in the pharmacy after the library."

She adds that over the years, she has worked with many great pharmacists and staff, who have been very respectful and helpful to her.

"Although I'm not the only volunteer that works at the hospital, I am the only one who works in the pharmacy," Hoffman adds.

Hoffman says volunteering is her way of giving back.
"I volunteer as a way to say ‘thank you' for the freedoms our vets have fought for," she states. "Also, the things I help out with frees the staff up to get other things done, things that I can't do."

She adds that it is important for others to volunteer and give back to their community and veterans.

"There is a good feeling that comes with helping people," Hoffman states. "I think every-one should find some organization to donate some of their time to."

Previously, Hoffman volunteered twice each week. Since last May, she has been volunteering once every two weeks.

She says she still finds joy in volunteering.

"As long as I am well, I will continue to volunteer," says Hoffman. "I love doing it."