Lance's Journal: A Passion For People, Apr. 21

It's that time of the year where we stop and appreciate all of those people around us that give freely of their time and talents. It's National Volunteer Week and Grand Island's Terri Zeleski has won a volunteerism award from Saint Francis Medical Center.

Terri says she has been given a gift and that gift is the ability to help people. Whether it's at work or in her free time this registered nurse is in the business of assisting others...and business is good. Terri says she has a passion for people, "I love working with all varieties of patients. I am a nurse because this is what the Lord wanted me to do." She's known it since she was a child, "So I've grown up wanting to work with people."

Terri doesn't limit her interaction to just the workplace, "I was raised in a home where helping people was a given." And volunteering was a way of life, "It is something you can do in whatever area of your life you feel like you are gifted."

One way Terri volunteers her time is through a listening ministry at her church, she is a leader for the Stephen Ministry outreach program, "You spend time with them. You come along side them, you walk with them through whatever difficult situation they're going through and you're there as a friend."

She is also very involved with gathering shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child, "They are distributed throughout the world to children who often times this is the first gift they've ever received." And thanks to an African mission trip, Terri and her husband were able to meet some of those children.

Terri's co-worker Lois Keas explains why she wrote the letter that allowed Terri to receive the Mother Bonzal award for volunteerism, "Just that giving attitude that Terri has. She is always thinking of ways to help other people."

Terri is humbled by the award, "I'm a blend into the word work type of gal. I like to do all of my things behind the scene but to know what I do has been noticed did my heart good."

Terri is definitely not alone in her giving attitude at Saint Francis. Last year at the hospital, more than 500 volunteers provided more than 46 thousand hours of service.

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