UPMC Passavant Volunteers Love the Community… and Each Other

By: Taylor Andres

While a hospital may not seem like the ideal place for romance, love is in the air at UPMC Passavant. Currently, six different couples lend a hand through UPMC Passavant volunteer services, finding a sense of community and purpose in the assistance they provide.

Three of these couples shared how volunteering at UPMC Passavant enriches their lives post-retirement:

Bill and Gail Boucek:

Bill and Gail Boucek have been married for 54 years and have been volunteering at UPMC Passavant for about eight. Gail spent much of her professional career working as a UPMC Passavant nurse, and upon retirement, convinced Bill to join her as a volunteer.

“I worked here as a PACU (post-anesthesia care unit) nurse for many, many years and we loved our volunteers,” said Gail Boucek. “I remember when they came, we would think ‘oh this will be a much easier day, such a nice day.’”

Both Bill and Gail enjoy the connections they have found socializing among UPMC Passavant staff, volunteers and patients. While Bill started out having to meet new people, Gail had longtime friends from her time as hospital staff.

“My favorite part [of volunteering] is working with the men and women on the floor, and socializing with them,” said Bill Boucek. “I’ve made some very special friends volunteering here.”

“There’s definitely a sense of community,” said Gail. “When you’ve lived in the area for so long, seeing your neighbors, seeing a familiar person — they’re always glad to see you and it gives them the reassurance of seeing a familiar face.”

Ray and Mary Ann Wilson:

Ray and Mary Ann Wilson have been together for 43 years, and volunteering at UPMC Passavant for just over a year and a half. They volunteer on the same day but lend their hands to different departments.

“We pass each other in the hallways, and when I go out to see her at the desk, the other volunteer ladies tease her that her boyfriend is showing up again,” said Ray Wilson.

“I bring him coffee and we have dinner together after work and talk about our days,” said Mary-Ann Wilson.

Ray enjoys volunteering at UPMC Passavant because it keeps him busy and gives him the sense of purpose he was lacking after leaving the workforce.

“It’s a good way to give back to your community and a great way to meet new people and stay active. When I first retired, it was pretty much a shock to lose all the social interaction you get used to for your career,” said Ray.  “It’s a great way to feel like you have a purpose, and to get out of the house to do something rewarding.”

Jack and Kathleen Foley:

Jack and Kathleen Foley have been together for almost 50 years and have been volunteering at UPMC Passavant since last year. They volunteer because it feels rewarding to give back to their North Hills community.

“UPMC Passavant is our community hospital. We live about two miles away and our daughter was born here. I’m very proud that we can give back in this way, we both worked full-time all our lives and didn’t have the time to do what we wanted to as volunteers,” said Kathleen Foley. “One of the first things we decided to do [after retiring] was contact the hospital.”

Much like the other couples, Jack and Kathleen enjoy the social aspect of volunteering. They often enjoy meals with other volunteers in the UPMC Passavant cafeteria after their shifts.

“We meet up at the end of the day and have dinner together,” said Kathleen. “We make new friends here together. We eat dinner with some other volunteers and it’s always nice meeting new people.”

“We share stories, ideas, things we’ve done while we are at work. It gives us another conversation point in our lives,” said Jack Foley.

UPMC Passavant is always looking for adult volunteers who would like to be of service to the community. Further information on UPMC Passavant’s volunteer services and opportunities can be found on the UPMC Passavant volunteer website.