From phone calls to flowers, volunteer Judy Ragland – a gentle dynamo in a tiny five-foot-tall package – makes her mark on KVH Hospital.
If you’re scheduled for a mammogram, a CT scan or an ultrasound, there’s a good chance hers is the voice you hear on the phone reminding you of your appointment.
If you’re picking up flowers in the hospital gift shop, Ragland’s the one who provided the flowers and created the bouquet.
If a difficult day finds you pausing at the hospital’s Healing Garden, know that she’s the one who literally and figuratively helped plant the seeds that made it reality.
Suffice it to say that Ragland, who once planned a career in medicine, has no problem finding ways to make a difference as a KVH volunteer.
Raised on Bainbridge Island, she earned a pre-med degree at the University of Washington and was accepted to medical school. Love intervened and Ragland, married in her senior year of college, abandoned plans for medical school.
Four children and a divorce later, Ragland was a single mom working as a licensed vet tech at a large veterinary hospital in Issaquah. At the time, job and family responsibilities left little room for volunteering.
But that would change.
Ragland remarried. In 2000, she and her husband Frank came to Kittitas County and now make their home on a ranch in Thorp they’ve owned since 1989.
In 2002, Ragland signed on as a volunteer in the imaging department at KVH. “Back then, they were using film,” she recalls. “I knew how to do that from the veterinary hospital.”
With the department’s procedures now digitalized her role changed. Ragland, gifted with a kindly persona and a warm personality, is one of two volunteers who call patients to remind them of their appointments. Her shift is Monday morning.
“It’s definitely an outreach, especially now when so many things are done by machine,” Ragland says.
Karen Schock, director of volunteer services, calls Ragland “the consummate volunteer. She really gives from the heart,” Schock says.
Credited with helping initiate the effort to create the Healing Garden, Ragland asked the auxiliary for financial support, helped establish the garden and still helps maintain it. “The idea was that it would be a peaceful spot for someone needing a few quiet minutes and a little calm,” says Ragland who also has filled in as a Cancer Outreach Program volunteer when needed.
Ragland’s reward? “Just the idea that you’re contributing to the overall functioning of the hospital,” Ragland says. “From all I see, I think they do a great job. I really do. They’re very good in many places and they also know how to hand something off when that’s appropriate. You just hear raves from people about how much they care and how good the care is.”
She flashes a lively grin.
There is one problem, she says laughing. “The gals in imaging are always so appreciative for what I do,” she says. “When we’re traveling out of town, I always feel guilty on Mondays.”