The Duke Eye Center Volunteer Program has been in existence since 1984, and Inez Neal has been a part of the team since its birth. Some of her activities of service are escorting patients throughout the entire Duke University Medical Center, assisting with the coffee serving cart, and visiting with patients in waiting areas. She also provides light clerical work for the eye contact staff and distributes magazines and brochures in the waiting areas.
There is always a need for volunteer service at any medical facility, and the Duke University Medical Center is no different. It is important for the patients to receive assistance when they enter the facility; so directing the patients and visitors to various clinical stations for treatment is an essential service Neal performs. Most that come to the center may be hesitant or a little nervous, but she offers a compassionate and warm atmosphere to help ease any discomfort.
Neal is one of the first volunteers to start and conduct a program of patient relationship and patient assistance wherever needed. The Center receives letters, notes, and cards with positive feedback from patients and visitors alike praising her efforts.
Many in the community are affected by Neal, not only those who come to the medical center. She also drives patients to the doctor and the hospital. She also delivers meals-on-wheels, takes wheelchair patients to church, and is an officer of the Community Resource Council for the Umstead Correctional Facility. Her service work spans three counties.
Inez Neal is especially talented in personal relations and writes poems about volunteer work at the Center as well as life in general. Her poems can also be seen in the volunteer newsletter and at the annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon. She won top honors for the number of volunteer hours she served in 1992, 1995, and 1996. In addition, she has a certificate of appreciation from Governor Jim Hunt for her services to the city.