Mercy Hospital Ardmore is celebrating National Volunteer Week and giving a special nod the 54 area residents who donate their time, skills and talents to the medical facility.

Shelly Antuna, Mercy Ardmore Volunteer Coordinator, said in the past year local volunteers have given up 20,500 hours in service to the hospital.

"We have volunteers that are from all over the world. They have lived, travelled and worked in so many places and in so many fields – from a bi-lingual TV personality to teacher to physician's wife. It is interesting to visit with them," said Sara Donaho-Jones, Mercy Ardmore Senior Marketing and Media Relations Specialist.

Many of the volunteers find a special joy in giving whether they are rocking a newborn, greeting and assisting visitors, easing a family member's worry, manning the gift shop, or helping patients as they leave the hospital.

Katherine Fox who has volunteered 10,700 hours since she started at Mercy Ardmore in 2004, said, "It is what keeps me going. I enjoy getting to meet new people and helping wherever I am needed."

Fox volunteers her time four or five days a week. She said she does a little bit of everything from greeting visitors at the front desk, to clerking in the gift shop, or "going anywhere they call me."

And she said her volunteerism not only assists others, but helps her as well.

"I tell people that 'it's a proven fact that getting involved improves your health and overall quality of life,'" she said.

Fox who also serves on the Oklahoma Hospital Association's Volunteer Committee encourages others, "To get out and get to doing."

Antuna said the hospital offers something for every type of volunteer.

"Mercy volunteers include teenagers, who want experience in the medical field — middle-aged people, looking to give back — seniors, who want to stay active and people with disabilities learning job skills," she said."There are a myriad of ways in which volunteers serve."

And while some volunteers have lots of time to give, Antuna said the amount of time a volunteer gives isn't as important a the quality of time each volunteers offer.

"Volunteers can commit to as little as one hour a month and as much as 40 hours a week," she said.