SVHC Recognizes Outstanding Volunteers

June 09, 2015

BENNINGTON—June 9, 2015—Soutwestern Vermont Health Care is the grateful recipient of hundreds of hours of work from more than 200 volunteers each year. Volunteers were honored at an appreciation lunch last month.

“While we know the importance of volunteers to our success as a health care organization, this recognition event is a way to honor special volunteers for their truly outstanding contribution to SVHC,” said Susan Lewsey, volunteer services coordinator.

Thirty-eight were honored for having reached a milestone in their service. The highest milestone this year was achieved by Mary Kohler for having given a total of 6,500 hours, the equivalent of more than two years as a full time employee.

Ten volunteers were nominated for the 2015 Outstanding Volunteer Award. The Outstanding Volunteer Award recognizes a volunteer who displays dedication to the patients and staff of SVHC, excellent customer service, quality in the work they do, and empathy in all interactions.

This year's recipient was Jacob Kos of Shushan, N.Y.

Kos has been a volunteer since 2012. His contributions include time spent visiting with patients as a patient liaison for the Quality, Safety and Value Department.

“Jake spends 3-4 days a week visiting SVMC patients to solicit concerns, special needs, and any other feedback a patient may have for us to make their stay as comfortable as possible,” said Mary Anne Cushing, SVHC’s patient advocate and a member of the Quality, Safety, and Value team.

Kos is noted for special service to residents and patients at the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, where he visits residents and has a weekly lunch appointment. He uses his own time to research illnesses to gain better understanding and follows up to be sure any issues are addressed and new actions are maintained.

“Jake goes out of his way to accommodate patients. We are so fortunate to have him as a volunteer in the Patient Safety and Quality Department and in the organization,” said Cushing.

Volunteers are nominated by the staff teams they work with and are chosen by a selection committee, which includes SVHC staff and members of Human Resources and Volunteer Services departments. In order to be eligible, a volunteer must be currently active, must have served for a minimum of one year, and must have volunteered at least 50 hours within that year.

“We thank Jake, all of this year’s nominees, and all of our dedicated volunteers for the assistance they provide alongside our staff. They are a piece of what makes us a special part of our community,” said Lewsey.

Southwestern Vermont Health Care is an integrated health system serving Bennington and Windham Counties in Vermont, upper New York State, and Northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts. SVHC consists of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) and the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation in Bennington, SVMC Northshire Campus in Manchester, SVMC Deerfield Valley Campus in Wilmington, Mountain Medical at the base of Mount Snow in West Dover, and the SVHC Foundation. SVMC’s multispecialty medical group is operated in partnership with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Putnam Physicians and provides a wide range of primary and specialty care to the region. To learn more, visit