Maryville resident Bob Ferguson gives back to his community by volunteering at the SSM Health St. Francis Hospital front desk.
He, along with approximately 33 others, man the front desk area, assisting patients and visitors, giving directions, forwarding calls and providing a friendly smile to all who enter the hospital.
“We are the first point of contact for visitors and patients. It is extremely important that the first interaction is done in a friendly way. We want it to be a good experience for everyone. We want to be as helpful as we can be and make a good first impression,” Ferguson explained.
Ferguson reads the hospital mission statement and core values, which are compassion, respect, excellence, stewardship and community, before every shift starts to refresh himself and to remind him what his mission at the hospital is.
“We have a desire to give back to the community and a desire to help other people, that’s why we do this,” Ferguson said.
Along with the feeling of fulfillment in helping others, he listed other benefits of volunteering including getting to know people and making friends.
“The people there are very supportive and appreciative of the volunteer staff. I enjoy being a part of the team,” Ferguson stated.
Ferguson married his wife, Ellen, 45 years ago and the couple has three sons who still live in the area and six grandchildren.
He retired from Energizer in 2010 after working there for 35 years. He then spent a couple of years doing computerized maintenance systems consulting, traveling often to other states.
Volunteering had always been on his heart, something that he wanted to get into after retirement. In 2014, he joined the American Red Cross and was deployed to Houston during the floods.
He began baby-sitting his grandchildren throughout the week, making it impossible to deploy for two weeks at a time with the Red Cross. However, he wanted to continue to serve his community through volunteer work so he joined the SSM Health reception desk team in 2016.
Ferguson was in the initial group of volunteers who began to run the front desk after the extensive renovations at the hospital, and he has served there since.
“SSM keeps me engaged and active. I look forward to doing this for a long time,” Ferguson said.
SSM also has approximately 34 volunteers who operate the hospital gift shop. Those interested in volunteering at SSM can contact Community Relations Development Manager Rita Miller.
“They run a wonderful program. I encourage anyone interested in volunteering to consider SSM,” Ferguson stated.