Hospital thanks retired Chicago police officer for service, kindness
For Advocate Trinity Hospital volunteer Vernon Whittington, 76, the journey of life can be unpredictable. But when you make the effort to pave your roads with kindness, many stops along your way will be filled with sweet surprises, he says.
After lending his time and talents to the hospital’s Public Safety department for nearly 10 years, Whittington received the sweet surprise of unanticipated recognition on April 18, during National Volunteer Week. Public Safety officers rallied together and presented Whittington with lunch, Advocate Trinity swag – a water bottle, a lapel pin and a t-shirt – a commemorative plaque, and plenty of pats on the back.
Whittington was one of 19 hospital volunteers honored during the third week in April, when organizations across the nation celebrated the impact of volunteer service and the legacy of volunteers who continue to make a difference in building stronger communities.
“We love Vernon being in our Department,” says Public Safety Supervisor Stanley Lawrence.
A retired Chicago police officer, Whittington helps with Public Safety efforts twice a week in 5-hour shifts. He opens doors, delivers clean clothes to patients who were victims of abuse, and covers various posts when full-time officers need to leave their assigned areas to investigate safety calls.
“I don’t get paid but I do the job. I do whatever they need to be done,” Whittington says, adding “It’s my field and it’s what I like doing.”
Whittington recalls that kindness led to his volunteer service at the hospital. In 2009, his wife of 46 years came to Advocate Trinity for outpatient surgery. He was struck by the level of kindness every team member showed the couple during their visit.
“That same day, I got an application,” Whittington says. At the time, Whittington was considering bids from two other organizations wishing to enlist him as a volunteer. But in the end, Trinity won. “Thirty days later, after turning-in my application, I was called in. And the rest is history.”
Whittington says he enjoys working with younger people and serving as their law enforcement mentor.
“The same people are still here. I still have my medical here and I still love the people,” Whittington says. “I love Trinity. That’s why I’ve worked here 10 years. I love the people. I love the people I work with.”
The best piece of wisdom he has to offer? “You have to be kind to everybody. Be kind to people and you’ll get rewarded in the end.”
Advocate Trinity volunteers perform a variety of duties in numerous units/departments, including Cardiology, the Lab, Medical Records, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy and others. In 2018, Advocate Trinity’s volunteers donated 8,977 service hours and contributed services valued at more than $250,000.
To become a volunteer at Advocate Trinity Hospital, visit: https://www.advocatehealth.com/trin/patients-visitors/volunteer-program/.