Photo: Jake Lynch/BRHS
They know her as one of “the flower ladies.”
Her task is to keep the blossoms bright, and in doing so she also keeps bright the spirits of everyone that visits our hospital.
We were thrilled this week to nominate Valma Woodhouse for a 2019 Minister for Health Volunteer Award, well-deserved recognition of her 40 years of service to the Bairnsdale Regional Health Service Flower Auxiliary Committee.
Since the 1950s, the flower auxiliary has patrolled the halls and wards of the hospital, vigilantly looking out for any flowers that look like they could use a bit of a spruce-up and a fresh vase of water.
The effect that their attentions have on not only the appearance (and fragrance) of the hospital but also the mood and well-being of the patients and visitors cannot be overstated.
“Some people you might know, others you don’t, and you have just have a little chat and you listen, and sometimes you can brighten their day.”
“Valma brings a ray of sunshine into the health service every time she visits,” says Christine Cornish, BRHS Volunteer and Community Engagement Coordinator. “She is always happy to stop and chat with the patients, visitors and staff, and is always ready with a comforting word.”
Valma was born in the original Bairnsdale Hospital on McKean Street, and her life since then has demonstrated a remarkable eagerness to support and contribute to the community she calls home.
In addition to her 40 years as a volunteer with the hospital, Valma has more than 55 years of service as a Bairnsdale Country Fire Authority Auxiliary volunteer.
Of course, when we tracked Valma down to interview her and take some photos this week, she couldn’t see what all the fuss was about.
“I just do it because I love it,” Valma said. “It’s nice to get out, and to meet people. Some people you might know, others you don’t, and you have just have a little chat and you listen, and sometimes you can brighten their day.”
Christine said Valma exemplifies all the characteristics that make a volunteer so crucial to the heart of a community – supporting those in need for altruistic reasons and the welfare and greater good of others.
“The worth of the years, months, days and minutes that Valma has dedicated to serving the needs of others is immeasurable,” she said. “One person at a time, one flower at a time, for over 40 years. Can you imagine what that would look like as a garden?”
Interested in volunteering with us? It’s fun and easy. Visit http://www.brhs.com.au/volunteers-fundraising/ to learn more.