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Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Like a tennis ball in the clothes dryer

Mary Ann Fulford

Rob Toonkel used an expression I had never heard before when he described the hundreds of people who volunteer at the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center.

Toonkel, senior leader for guest services, said that the typical hospital volunteer is like “the tennis ball in the dryer.” Toonkel said that if you place a tennis ball in the dryer, the clothes will dry faster and with fewer wrinkles.

“Volunteers add to what we already have,” Toonkel said. “Without them, you’d still get great medical care but all those extra things, all of the things that make you feel better as a patient, would be missing.”

All three local hospitals recently saluted the “extra things” done by their top volunteers:

Mary Washington Hospital recognized Mary Ann Fulford as its longest serving volunteer. Fulford has logged more than 22,000 hours of volunteer work, the equivalent of almost 11 years of full-time work.

Tim Tobin, CEO of Spotsylvania Regional, left, and Rob Toonkel, senior leader for guest services, pose with Lindsay Keyser, the hospital's first scholarship winner.

Spotsylvania Regional gave Lindsay Keyser, a 2011 Massaponax High School graduate, its first volunteer scholarship. Keyser received $1,000 for her college tuition. She is a student at the Nursing and Health Technologies Program at Germanna Community College. Keyser has been a volunteer at the hospital since its opening.

Stafford Hospital recognized Jerry Katzmann, the first president of the Stafford Hospital Auxiliary, and his wife, Candy. The Katzmanns are charter members of the auxiliary and donors to the Stafford Hospital Foundation.

(For more about Fulford and the work that hospital volunteers do, see the story soon in the paper.)