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PRESS RELEASE: Baptist Health volunteer program president retires

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By The Staff

The Era recieved a marvelous press release about a local resident who spent 18 years as a hospital volunteer before recently retiring. We present it here in full for our readers. 

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When Alta Haunsz decided to go to nursing school in 1948, she probably didn’t expect to be actively involved in a hospital setting 67 years later, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I retired in 1994, and saw an ad in the Oldham Era for Valentine Tea at Baptist Northeast (now Baptist Health La Grange) inviting anyone who might be interested in volunteering,” Haunsz said. “I loved the atmosphere. I loved the smiles. I started volunteering at the hospital in September 1995 and a couple months later I was made the president of the volunteer group.”

This year, Haunsz stepped down from her position as volunteer president – a role she has held for 18 years.

“I celebrated my 85th birthday and decided someone younger should take the role. I just decided it was time,” Haunsz said.

Under Haunsz’s helm, the volunteer program has made invaluable contributions to the hospital’s growth, but more importantly to the patients that enter its doors. The volunteers construct pillows for surgery patients to help comfort them after their procedure, knit and crochet hats for babies born in the Women’s Center and crochet a special afghan given to the first baby of the New Year.

Through annual fundraisers including uniform, jewelry and book sales, they purchased the Nativity scene that is featured at the main entrance during Christmas, donated $10,000 of local artwork for the new Surgery and Cardiac Centers, provided funds to renovate the Chapel and purchase the cross that hangs in the hospital’s lobby.

An annual scholarship program is near and dear to Haunsz’s heart because it provides $3,000 to a local high school senior who is going into the healthcare field.

Haunsz’s dedication to the volunteer program has been recognized on both a state and national level. In 2013, the President of Baptist Health La Grange, Chris Roty, and the Director of Volunteers, Susan Arnold, on behalf of the hospital nominated her for the Home Instead Senior Service Award, which salutes seniors for the impact they make in their communities. An entry from her nomination reads,

“Alta’s length of service speaks for itself but I must mention her outstanding willingness to lead. Her organizational skills coupled with a true desire to serve others from her heart have been an absolute asset for our hospital. Others turn to her for advice, both professionally and personally, and she always takes time to address others’ concerns. I’ve never seen her in a position that she couldn’t handle – always with a smile and a warm heart.”

But don’t think Haunsz will be slowing down any time soon. She will continue to volunteer at the hospital once a week where she helps at the front desk and gift shop and in both the Volunteer and Human Resources departments. That’s on top of her active social schedule that includes bowling, book club, playing bridge and spending time with her five grandchildren.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Haunsz said. “I’m going to continue to volunteer until I can’t. As long as I can be here and helpful, I will be here.”

Pat Chapman, benefits coordinator in the hospital’s Human Resources department, has worked with Haunsz for 12 years. She said the department looks forward to seeing Haunsz’s smiling face every week.

“Alta has worked in Human Resources many years and is very confidential and detail-oriented.  She takes pride in her work and does excellent work. Alta takes ownership of projects that she does on an ongoing schedule. She is always ready to jump in and lend a hand on anything that comes up that we need help with,” Chapman said. “She has become a true friend who brings a lot of laughter to our department.  I don’t know how we would get along without her. She is a real blessing.”

Originally from Lexington, Haunsz graduated from nursing school at Kentucky Baptist Hospital in 1951. She found a true passion for psych nursing and worked three years at Central State. She met her husband, Raymond, during this time and later became the mother to a son, Raymond, and daughter Kathy. She resided with her family in Oldham County for 23 years. Her nursing career includes a part-time position at the Kentucky Children’s Home to a position with the Kentucky Board of Nursing, from which she retired in 1994, after 17 years of service.

­— Submittedby Baptist Health