Haas gives ‘gift’ of service

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 13, 2004

By SUE ELLEN ROSS Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – Working at the same place for 22 years is cause for celebration in the business office. It’s also an admirable feat for a hospital volunteer.

Jean Haas of LaPlace, has been behind the cash register in the River Parishes Hospital Gift Shop since 1982.

“We didn’t have a hospital in LaPlace when I moved here, and I always said that I would volunteer when we did get one,” said Haas. “So here I am.”

A former supervisor with the telephone company, she decided to give of her time when she left the business. The hospital Gift Shop was the perfect fit.

The energetic retiree handles inventory and deals with the public, skills she developed through the years on her previous job.

Traffic is consistent through the little shop, which carries the usual items such as figurines, books and stuffed animals. Since they are not open late at night or on the weekends, they offer outside newspaper boxes.

Haas spends two days a week at the hospital, and fills in as needed. “I thoroughly enjoy what I’m doing. It’s nice to be out and accomplishing something.”

Volunteers’ dedication in the patient care and services departments do not go unnoticed, according to Haas. Visitors to the Gift Shop take time to let her know how grateful they are.

“When doing for someone else, you are actually doing for yourself,” said Haas. “When you’re giving, you get back tri-fold.”

Haas resides in LaPlace with husband, George. They have one daughter, Caroline and granddaughter, Emily 6.

Hospital Volunteer Coordinator Claudette Henry hears many positive comments from patients, staff and those visiting the hospital regarding her members. “They are considered very valuable by everyone,” she said. She added that the hospital shows their appreciation by sponsoring an annual ‘Volunteer Week’ in April. “Each day of the week has its own theme,” said Henry. “We also plan a recognition luncheon, honoring all of our volunteers.”

For more information on volunteering at River Parishes Hospital, call Claudette Henry at 651-1482.