Our 2016 Volunteers of the Year are Linda and Mike Ruggeroli, along with their precious family – Lilly and Annie.
Linda and Mike started volunteering in June 2013. Each of them, including Lilly and Annie, have donated over a 1000 hours of emotional support and smiles to patients, visitors and staff at HMSL. They moved to the friendly south from Michigan to start their own graphic design business. After retiring, they welcomed Lilly into their home to check out the steps required to train therapy dogs.
A few weeks ago, Annie and Lilly served as “Spokesdogs” for the Fort Bend Cares Doggone Fun Run. The event raised funds to support nonprofit organizations that serve to improve the lives of disadvantaged children in Ft. Bend County. HMSL was the presenting sponsor in honor of the Faithful Paws Pet Therapy program.
INTEGRITY – Linda and Mike are honest and ethical in every interaction with patients and staff members. Linda is a cancer survivor and often shares her story to help others in their recovery. In October 2016, Linda gave a presentation at HMSL for a “Teen Leadership” group of students from Baine’s Middle School.
COMPASSION – Linda and Mike are very intuitive. They always seem to know what a person needs at any given time and have a sincere concern for those in need of emotional support. They were particularly supportive of one of the volunteers who developed cancer and passed away in March 2016. She had no family in or near Texas. Along with other pet therapy volunteers and pets, they became her family and were with her until the end.
ACCOUNTABILITY – They are two people you can always count on to be present and to make the best decisions for the good of the whole. They are dedicated volunteers and determined to make a joyful difference in people’s lives. They are always willing to accept suggestions for changes and/or improvements. They have a remarkable attitude, one of care and compassion. They always put the needs of others first. They understand that pet therapy requires some discretion and they are always very conscientious about how they present themselves and Lilly and Annie to the patients. Linda resumed visiting the hospital with Annie and Lilly just one week after her own surgery. She and Mike are committed to bringing pet therapy to others who could use a calm and friendly wag.
RESPECT – Linda and Mike set an example for each volunteer to emulate, with compassionate, caring hearts. They are encouragers, mentors and friends setting the bar for volunteerism at its peak.
SERVICE PRIDE STANDARDS: Linda and Mike have a remarkable, upbeat, positive attitude with everyone they meet. With smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts, they bring their dogs to many patients several times a week to offer them hope, comfort and love.
COMMITMENT AND DEDICATION – Linda and Mike are dedicated to each and every patient and staff member they meet, offering each a sense of worth, hope, and the “I CARE” smiles needed to recover quickly or do their jobs. No matter how many people stop them in the hallways to pet Lilly and Annie or how many “special requests” they get – they accommodate. The couple exemplify all the I CARE values, service and commitment parameters and they do it with “Joyful Hearts”. They are also very committed to HMSL and its mission and values. They gladly tell other Faithful Paws volunteers that it is well worth going through the on-boarding process to become a volunteer at HMSL. They truly feel that they are part of the HMSL family.