Volunteers escort patients at Keesler

  • Published
  • By Steve Pivnick
  • 81st Medical Group Public Affairs
Keesler Medical Center's volunteer escort service has helped 369,000 patients around the facility since 1981. 

One of the original escort team staff has achieved a milestone of his own. Dean Todd has "moved" 20,000 patients himself in more than 26 years of volunteer service.
A retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, Mr. Todd recalled how the medical center's chief nurse attended a meeting of the Retired Officers Association and asked if anyone would be willing to move patients around the facility. This would allow her Airmen to remain in the wards to care for patients. 

"Nine of us volunteered, and it became an immediate success," he said. 

Today, the 16 escorts move patients to and from appointments, between clinics or treatment areas and the inpatient units and to and from the parking lots. They have a motorized cart to transport patients for roundtrip service to their vehicles.
Mr. Todd estimates he assists about 20 patients a week.
Emily Shelton, volunteer coordinator, is anxious to return both the escort service and the volunteer program to their pre-Hurricane Katrina numbers. Before the Aug. 29, 2005, storm, nearly 200 people served as medical center volunteers. Including the 16 escorts, she now has only about 50 volunteers.
Hours are 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, depending on the work center.
For more information or to volunteer, call Ms. Shelton, 228-376-3415, 6010 or 3772.