It’s always been important for Jane Rosendahl to give back to the community.

It’s always been important for Jane Rosendahl to give back to the community.

She first started volunteering at a hospital in Wisconsin, and when her husband’s job moved the couple to Missouri, she found she missed the work.

So when Centerpoint Medical Center opened four years ago, the Blue Springs retiree offered her time to the emergency room staff.

“I chose to go to Centerpoint because I wanted to get out of my comfort zone,” Rosendahl said. “I knew I would encounter situations I haven’t encountered in my own life. There is such diversity out there, but people are people. If they are in need, there is a great feeling in giving them whatever help I can.”

In addition to volunteering in the emergency room on Monday afternoons, Rosendahl also serves on Centerpoint’s Volunteer Advisory Committee. The group brainstorms ways to make the hospital more inviting.

But Rosendahl’s community involvement doesn’t end there. During tax season, she also helps greet seniors at AARP tax help sessions, where her husband, John, also volunteers. The 70-year-old also is active in volunteer efforts at her church, First United Methodist in Blue Springs.

“I used to help garden, but my stamina’s not what it used to be,” said Rosendahl. “So now I help sew dresses for little African girls.”

What types of volunteer work do you do in the Centerpoint emergency room?

“I do whatever the doctors and nurses tell me to do. When I get there, I check the blanket warmers to make sure they’re filled with warm blankets. There are packets of papers for stroke patients and cardiac patients, and each of those folders needs to be filled.

“I also get beverages for family members. I’m not allowed to give patients anything to drink, but I can offer their loved ones ice water, coffee and – I think this one is really neat – hot chocolate. I do that for the families in the waiting area as well as when they are in a secured area with loved ones.

“Some of the volunteers can’t be physically present, but they make stuffed animals for the kids. There’s a supply of little pillows and blankets that I can hand out. Churches also donate ‘buddy bags’ – they put together little packets of crayons, coloring books, toys, stuffed animals – and I hand those out as well.”

What do you get out of volunteering?

“As many volunteers will tell you, you get more than you give. The families are unbelievable gracious and complimentary.”

Have you had any particularly memorable experiences volunteering?

“Anything involving the children is always interesting. It’s hard to express, but every week, when I go, I just know that’s where I’m supposed to be. I know that’s where God wants me to be. It just comes through loud and clear weekly that this is definitely where I belong at this point in my life.”

Why should people volunteer?

“I think that’s what we’re here for. We need to serve each other. There are many blessings in this life, and we should share some of our lives with those who just haven’t had the opportunities. If it were me, I would want someone to relate to me in a compassionate way. It puts us all on equal footing.”