Impressive Volunteerism, Huston Celebrates 13 Years With Hospital

Ann Huston has spent exactly half of her years in Anacortes volunteering at Island Health. Huston and her family moved here from Tucson 26 years ago to “follow their boat.” For the last 13 years, in her red volunteer coat, she has greeted visitors and patients with her warmth and welcoming smile.

It all started at a routine doctor visit when Huston asked her doctor for advice on how to cure her boredom. Retired from a career as an IBM administrative assistant, she was looking for meaningful ways to fill her time. Next thing she knew, she was at the front desk with the registrar, welcoming people to the hospital.

Her volunteer duties include answering questions, greeting patients and visitors, and escorting them to the various offices and departments throughout the hospital. For Huston, volunteering has been a saving grace during the pandemic when she wanted desperately to help in some way.

“The best part about volunteering is just being useful,” she said. “Helping people feel even a little more comfortable is so rewarding. And when you smile, they smile.”

Huston’s courageous care was tested 10 years ago when she had her own health scare. She was leading a small church group in her home when she suddenly lost the ability to speak. Her speech returned shortly after, but she had no memory of the event. As a precaution, she scheduled an appointment with her doctor. The MRI results from that appointment showed a baseball-sized tumor on the top of her skull. Within two hours of seeing the images, her doctor had scheduled neurosurgery for her.

A woman of deep faith, Huston never feared, finding hope and encouragement in messages everyday between the time of diagnosis and the day of surgery. She took four months off to rest and then donned her red coat once again to return to the volunteer desk. “We love the days when Ann is here. She lights up our halls with her smile and kindness,” said Bo Gillentine, Registration Manager.

When Huston isn’t at the hospital, she is busy keeping up with the adventures and happenings of her five accomplished grandchildren, all of whom she is very proud. She encourages anyone looking for a way to give back to give volunteering at the hospital a try. “It’s really the most rewarding thing I can think of,” reflected Huston.

Volunteer Services 360.299.1397

Interested in becoming a volunteer?
If you are looking for a way to give back to the community, develop new skills, build on existing experience, or, like Ann (see story), find a way to cure boredom, consider volunteering at Island Health. We’d love to have you. Our volunteers are the heart of our organization. Contact our Volunteer Services department to find out how you can help put your talents to work, making a difference for our patients and our staff.

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