Daily Point of Light # 2774 Sep 22, 2004

Mrs. Geri Murgola consistently embraces the spirit of volunteerism and selfless giving that embodies the best elements of our great nation. She has volunteered at Bering Omega Community Services for the past 11 years. During that time, Mrs. Murgola has diligently managed the volunteer schedule for Omega House, a residential hospice program that compassionately cares for those dying due to HIV/AIDS.

Mrs. Murgola goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that there are always caring and committed volunteers to meet the clients’ many needs. She also works tirelessly to make certain that the volunteers are not emotionally overwhelmed by their role as bedside support and caregivers to those with critical health needs.

Omega House is a residential hospice that provides housing facilities, medical care and psychological services to individuals in the terminal stages of HIV/AIDS. Volunteers perform resident care and most of the daily work of the house, from garden maintenance to bedside care. Geri Murgola, volunteer scheduler, masterfully coordinates and channels the energy of 200 volunteers into a seven day a week regimen of volunteer service. One shift of volunteers leaves as another arrives, providing seamless care to the residents, all orchestrated by Mrs. Murgola.

Mrs. Murgola goes far beyond her assigned tasks. She is an active member of the Board of Trustee level Volunteer Committee. She attends meetings, plans social events, welcomes new volunteers and stays in touch with the lives of old friends. She even carries this dedication into her personal life where she took the lead role in making sure a close family member received the support and care he needed.

What stands out most about Mrs. Murgola and her work is her concern for the volunteers. She takes to heart not only the needs of the residents for adequate staffing, but also the importance of a volunteer not being overwhelmed. She pays attention to who is a newer volunteer on the shift, matching them to a more seasoned buddy. Her mind is a library of travel habits, schedules and skills of 200 people. It is unique to find someone so dedicated to volunteer as an administrator, and work for so many hours a week, for such a long period of time.

Omega House’s record of training many longtime volunteers is due, in part, to Mrs. Murgola’s constant juggling of the needs of the residents with the needs of the volunteers. She helps maintain a balance that keeps the volunteers coming back year after year. Mrs. Murgola has volunteered for 15 hours a week, in addition to extra time during the weekend, for the past 11 years – which amounts to at least 8,580 hours. It is Mrs. Murgola’s commitment that makes the agency’s commitment a reality.