‘People appreciate being appreciated’ at Comox hospital

Showing appreciation for the work its employees and volunteers do is something that's important to St. Joseph's General Hospital.

INDIGO JAZZ MEMBERS Rick Husband and Dale Graham played at St. Joseph's General Hospital's Gelato Day.

Showing appreciation for the work its employees and volunteers do is something that’s important to St. Joseph’s General Hospital.

“I think people appreciate being appreciated,” said Steve Hill, the hospital’s director of pastoral care, mission and medical ethics, and organizer of the hospital’s staff appreciation events. “And where there’s appreciation there’s kind of a sense of energy, and a sense of hope and a sense of we’re all in it together.”

The latest appreciation day, dubbed Gelato Day and held Thursday, featured live music from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the hospital cafeteria — as well as free gelato.

Ten local musical acts donated an hour each of their time to spice up the atmosphere in the cafeteria including: Tracy Canil, Divertimento Baroque Ensemble, Tammy Fassaert, Helen Austin, View’s Chime Bell Choir, Indigo Jazz, Dick Stuart, David Somers, Roger Helfrick, and Jenn Forsland and Luke Blu Guthrie.

The free gelato was made possible thanks to a donation from Piercy’s – Mt. Washington Funeral Home.

“We had the staff serving the staff the gelato, and lots of banter, lots of fun, you know, chatter back and forth — it’s community building,” added Hill, who also organizes other similar days throughout the year.

The next one will be during the hospital’s week of pastoral care at the end of October, and musicians and free goodies will be on hand each day for the week.

Dale Graham, singer with Indigo Jazz and a physiotherapist at the hospital, said she often hears her co-workers talking about what a fantastic idea the appreciation days are, and she was pleased to donate her time as a musician on Gelato Day.

“I love to sing and I like to share it with people, and I have a lot of investment in the colleagues that I work with here,” said Graham “So I’m pleased to give myself the chance to perform, and really pleased to support Steve’s efforts to bring some kind of — just lightening of the day of the people here who work so hard.”

Hill noted the idea first came up about two-and-a-half years ago when a housekeeping staff member approached him with the suggestion not too long after he started working at the hospital. And as far as he knows, there weren’t staff appreciation days before he came.

“As people tell me, this never happened before, that’s what people tell me, is it’s something new and it’s welcome,” he explained.

Hill added he’s very grateful to the musicians who donate their time and the various community organizations that donate funds so he can get the free goodies.

“This is a community hospital and when community members take the time and put some money into expressing appreciation for the care team here — it’s a community taking care of the hospital that takes care of the community,” said Hill.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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