The Memorial Hospital Ladies Auxiliary, known as the Pink Ladies, could use more volunteers, hospital officials say. For more information about the program, call Samantha Johnston, TMH service excellence officer, at 826-3109.
Probably the most important quality for any prospective Pink Lady volunteer is compassion.
That's the opinion of Doris Moore, 87, who was on staff when a young woman recently died at The Memorial Hospital.
"Her sister was taking it really hard," Moore said. "The mother wouldn't leave the sister's side. It was real hard on me, too, because I'd just lost a brother in Grand Junction. But, you try to help them, show them where they can go to be with one another and get a drink if they want one."
Moore has been one of the Pink Ladies - a volunteer group officially known as TMH Ladies Auxiliary, but more recognized by its members' requisite pink jackets - since a few months after she moved to Craig in 1975.
"I had been in the hospital at St. Mary's a lot down in Grand Junction," she said. "I figured I could give back a little."
The Pink Ladies have become a local institution, having staffed TMH since 1958, eight years after it was first built.
But its ranks are a little thin at the moment, said Samantha Johnston, TMH service excellence officer.
All together, there are 21 active volunteers, and hospital officials said that's about nine or 10 fewer than is needed.
"In 2008, they volunteered a total of about 5,500 hours," Johnston said. "They really do the work of two full-time employees. I'm really desperate to find some relief for them and get some more people involved."
Moore and her colleagues have become an important part of how the hospital interacts with the community, she added.
"They're totally part of the family," Johnston said. "How can you not like these sweet ladies who volunteer all their time?"
The Pink Ladies man the hospital's front desk, help run the lunchroom, assist physicians and operate the gift shop, which donates all of its proceeds back to the hospital for patient purchases, such as iPods and a DVD player for the day surgery ward.
Beulah Kline, 83, has been a Pink Lady almost as long as Moore. She said the opportunity to help people, whether by buying amenities for TMH or treating patients kindly, is what keeps her coming back each week after 33 years in the jacket.
"I love it," she said. "I wouldn't do it otherwise. I worked in the Moffat Rest Home for 16 years, which is closed down now. That was an interesting life, because we had a bunch of old-time pioneers."
Kline said she always felt a pull toward medicine, though she didn't get very involved in the field until later in life.
"I wanted to be a (registered nurse) before I got married, but my father didn't approve of his daughters getting a job before marriage," she said.
One of the Pink Ladies' newest recruits is trying to learn the ropes around a hospital sooner than later.
Jasmine Higgins, 17, will be a Moffat County High School senior this fall and started her second day with the Pink Ladies on Thursday.
"My dad is an ER nurse down there, and I'm really interested in the medical field and just wanted to know more about it," she said.
Even as a minor, she seems a good fit for what her tenured colleagues say they're looking for.
"I like helping people, and I like knowing how the human body works," Higgins said.
She added that it's not awkward to work with women so much her senior.
After all, she knows most of their grandchildren.
Kidding aside, Higgins said the group isn't only for retired women.
The community service hours she accumulates with the Pink Ladies help toward her graduation and National Honor Society requirements, and she said it's been a good way to learn more about health care and whether that's something she wants to do after graduation.
"If anybody wants to go into the medical field, this is probably the best way to go," Higgins said. "You kind of learn everything up front."