SOUTH MISSISSIPPI STRONG: Honoring hospital volunteers

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI STRONG: Honoring hospital volunteers

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - April is National Healthcare Volunteer Week, and in Gulfport giving back is a family affair for one pair of volunteers. Sandra Morrison is dedicated to making sure patients and visitors at Memorial Hospital's gift shop can find whatever they're looking for.

"You don't expect it often to come to a gift shop at a hospital and find so many things that you might be able to share with another person," said Morrison.

Morrison is a regular volunteer in the gift shop after deciding retirement just wasn't for her.

"I sat at home for three months and watched tv and said I've got to get out of this house," Morrison said.

Ten years later she hasn't stopped volunteering, and last year her work in the gift shop helped raise more than $88,000.

"We are able to buy certain things for hospital departments that have not been on a budget, but the need was there," Morrison said.

For Morrison volunteering is all in the family as her dog Honey Bunny and her husband Robert are regular visitors to the hospital.

"I thought Honey Bunny would be a good fit as a therapy dog because she's gentle and likes people,' said Robert Morrison.

Lifting the spirits of the patients is no trouble for Honey Bunny.

"The other day there was a 70-year old woman that had never touched a dog ever, and we actually got her to touch four of them. And she was so excited," said Robert Morrison.

Hospital Chaplain Martin Gilliland sees people every day dealing with incredible hardships, and he's thankful for the services the volunteers both humans and animals provide.

"On the oncology floor, if it wasn't for the dogs, I don't know where a lot of our patients would be," said Gilliland. "The dogs do much calming and bring unconditional love. They see that through these animals."

Sandra and Robert go home every day usually knowing they were able to put a smile on someone's face.

"It's just a wonderful experience for you to be able to give back, and to share the joys of making other people happy," said Robert Morrison.

Sandra is planning to build on her 5500 hours of service, and she has a quick response whenever she's asked about all those hours.

"Somebody always points it out, and I say yes, and we'd love to have you join us," Sandra Morrison said.

You can find more information on how to join the around 100 volunteers at Memorial here.

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