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Unsung Heroes in Health Care: HH Health Volunteers Receive State Awards

October 10, 2023 | Reading Time: 3 minutes

In a world where selflessness often takes a backseat, the Huntsville Hospital Health System is pleased to recognize the contributions of two individuals who go above and beyond to serve their communities.

Two HH Health volunteers were recently honored by the Alabama Hospital Association (AlaHA) for dedicating their time and energy to making a significant impact on patients, visitors and staff alike. The recipients, Tom Guyton and Ashley Wiggins, were each named a 2023 Outstanding Volunteer by AlaHA during a state conference of the Alabama Council of Hospital Auxillaries in Guntersville.

Meet the volunteers

Tom Guyton, Decatur Morgan Hospital volunteer

Tom Guyton

A volunteer since January 2006, Guyton has a long history with Decatur Morgan Hospital (DMH). Not only was his grandmother the first Superintendent of Nursing at DMH after it formed, but he was also born there. Additionally, his father was a practicing physician and his daughter was a physical therapist at the hospital.

Guyton, 83, now gives back to the hospital that gave so much to him by volunteering three days a week as a greeter in the surgery waiting room. In addition to assisting patients and visitors, he also serves as a tour guide and helping hand to hospital employees and staff.

Although he was unable to attend the ceremony to receive his award in-person, Guyton is grateful for the recognition and volunteer opportunities at HH Health.

“All of our wonderful volunteers are deserving of awards,” he said. “This was unexpected, but I am very honored to have been selected to receive such an award.”

Noel Lovelace, DMH Vice President of Development and President of the Decatur Morgan Hospital Foundation, said Guyton also serves on the Patient Family Advisory Council and participates in strategic planning for the hospital.

“Tom is a fixture at our hospital,” she said. “He is an invaluable asset to our patients and our staff.  He goes above and beyond each day to make our patients, families and staff feel welcome and cared for.”

Ashley Wiggins, Athens-Limestone Hospital volunteer holding her AlaHA award

Ashley Wiggins

Wiggins, an Athens-Limestone Hospital (ALH) volunteer and East Limestone High School student, has spent more than 300 hours in various roles, including guest services, greeting and assisting visitors, and helping nursing staff on one of ALH’s medical-surgical patient floors.

She was recently accepted into the hospital’s prestigious Ambassador Program, where she is currently organizing a service project with other students. An aspiring Nurse Practitioner, Wiggins first learned about the Ambassador Program during her junior year of high school.

“The program allows high school students to see various different areas of the hospital and provides some hands-on experience,” she said. “I soon was told that the hospital also offered internships for high school students, which would allow me to volunteer more while seeing more.”

When not at the hospital, Wiggins is active at school as a varsity football team trainer and a member of the Spanish and Beta clubs. She is also passionate about sports and hopes to earn a nursing degree from the University of Alabama.

While Wiggins was surprised but excited to receive the AlaHA award, ALH Medical Unit Director Susan Kilgore wasn’t shocked at all.

“When Ashley is working here, she always sits where she can pay attention to the see the board where the patient call requests come through,” she said. “She will go and answer the call lights without being prompted, is very helpful and always has a good attitude.”

AlaHA Awards 

Laura Grill, president and CEO of East Alabama Medical Center and chair-elect of the Alabama Hospital Association, presented the awards in October and thanked all volunteers attending the conference for their dedication to hospitals and the patients they serve.

On behalf of the entire HH Health family, we thank you for your service! If you’re interested in volunteer opportunities at your local hospital, reach out via the contact form on the appropriate website.