Hugs, smiles, laughs and tears all were exchanged by Nancy Purvis, retiring volunteer coordinator at Vidant Edgecombe Hospital, and her hospital “family” at a party in her honor Thursday afternoon.
“I’ve got a volunteer family and I’ve got a hospital family. How lucky am I?” Purvis asked. “They support me, they love me, we laugh together, we cry together.”
“She’s a special person. The hospital’s going to miss her,” said Sara Dupree, who volunteered for the hospital for 15 years. She was one of dozens of people in line to visit with Purvis on the occasion of her retirement. Purvis had 21 years, six months and one day of service at the hospital as of Thursday.
“Nancy [Purvis] has put her heart and soul in this job,” said Billy Barnes, a 17-year hospital volunteer. “I would like to say I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Nancy. She’s a very positive, energetic and vibrant person. The volunteers are going to miss Nancy and I’m sure the hospital will miss her, also.”
Purvis called the support shown to her at the retirement party “overwhelming.”
Patrick Heins, hospital president, presented a teary-eyed Purvis with a framed photo of the hospital signed by hospital employees.
“I have mixed emotions. I am glad that Nancy gets to retire and enjoy that, but I also hate to see her go,” Heins told the crowd. He joked that Purvis acted in the role of his “fourth-grader teacher, always checking up on me and keeping me in line.”
Purvis beams when she reflects on her experiences as volunteer coordinator at the hospital.
“This has been a journey of a lifetime for me. Being here has just been a joy and I hate to leave it, but I know it’s time to go,” Purvis stated. She said she has enjoyed being part of a healthcare organization whose “vision for our community is to give the best care that we can to our community.”
Heins told the crowd that the volunteer program has grown to a total of 114 volunteers and that last year, volunteers logged nearly 22,000 hours. He also noted that the hospital gift shop has expanded under Purvis’ leadership.
“She always supports us in that she makes sure we’re happy in what we’re doing,” said Eleanor Edge, president of the hospital auxiliary. “She seems to care personally for us. She always lets us know who’s been sick…She’s been great at what she does.”
“Nancy [Purvis] cannot be replaced. Nancy’s one-of-a-kind,” Kadie Moore, human resources director, stated. “She’ll always be someone we consult with for guidance because she’s invested so much in this program.”
At Thursday’s party, Moore announced that Amy Dixon, a local resident with experience working with volunteer programs, would fill the role of manager of volunteer services beginning Feb. 11.
Purvis began her years of service at the hospital in 1991, as education coordinator, where she was a CPR instructor and organized the first Catherine Stalls Scholarship, all the while volunteering with Edgecombe Community College. She also organized wellness walks, promoted the onsite gym and headed up the United Way campaign.
Purvis took over the role of “manager of senior friends” on June 23, 1997. In that position, she was responsible for the gift shop, volunteers, and community relation functions such as tours and bingo. In May 1999, Purvis’ title changed to manager of community relations, and she established the pastoral care program.
Purvis’ department name changed to community relations/ volunteers in September 2001 and changed once again to department of volunteer services in June 2002.
Purvis played a key role in the establishment of the development council, said Barnes, and worked countless hours on programs associated with the council and hospital gala. The first gala was held in October 2004.