Braemer Heart Center Volunteer Honored For Service
Arnetta Williams is a familiar face at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, particularly at the Braemer Heart Center. She’s an Exceptional Patient Service volunteer who greets patients and family members—who are often nervous about being in the hospital—and escorts them to their procedures. Williams is so effective that she was honored with this year’s Barbara Levy Memorial Award, given to volunteers in appreciation for their extraordinary efforts.
“There was no other person this year that we felt could fill that role more than Arnetta,” said Ellen Goldberg, manager of Volunteer Services. Goldberg cited Williams’ “warmth, humor and ability to make people smile. And her dedication to Einstein.” She also noted Williams’ compassion, her love for people and her friendliness.
Williams has been a dedicated volunteer for four years now, but she was not always on the volunteer side. Five years ago, Einstein Medical Center saved her life, an event that would eventually connect her to the volunteer program.
In 2013, Williams was walking near Einstein’s campus on Old York Road, when she had a debilitating stroke. Einstein had her airlifted to a facility where she underwent brain surgery. After her hospitalization, she received rigorous therapy at MossRehab, Einstein’s renowned rehabilitation facility in Elkins Park. When she completed her last therapy session, she learned about volunteer work at Einstein. Williams was not well enough to return to her profession as a hospice nurse, and her doctors even had concerns about her volunteering. The doctor’s worries did not stop her from pursuing her desire to become an exceptional volunteer.
Williams said she volunteers because “I love people. I love seeing patients happy and making them smile. It is genuine, and I assure them everything will be alright. I enjoy going there.”
Patients who work with volunteers give them a “grade” at the end of their time together. Williams always receives a good grade, and occasionally even gifts of appreciation.
Volunteering with patients who are going through a sensitive and scary time requires a certain kind of person. An individual as warm, outgoing, and charming as Williams is the perfect candidate. As Goldberg puts it, “Everyone manages to have a relationship with [Arnetta].” The companionship that Arnetta has offered to hundreds of passionate serves is an important and vital role in the process of their procedures. Arnetta always reminds the patients “not to worry, everything is going to be okay.”
Williams said receiving the award “made me feel wanted and appreciated as a volunteer.” At the volunteer luncheon, Arnetta shared a poem she had written for the ceremony, with her friends and family there to watch.