Freeman Health System Celebrates Volunteers with a “Thankquet”

(Joplin, MO) – Freeman Health System held a “Thankquet” to recognize the efforts of its volunteers who donate countless hours to support patients and hospital staff. The banquet was designed to inspire and thank Freeman volunteers.

“Where would Freeman Health System be without you — our Freeman Volunteers?” asked Freeman President and Chief Executive Officer Paula Baker in her address to the volunteers. “Your generous hearts truly make our corner of the world a better place. You serve our patients, our staff and our community, and we’re grateful you choose to share your talents and enthusiasm with Freeman and Ozark Center. We’re grateful for this opportunity to serve you as you serve Freeman throughout the year.”

The dinner turned the tables on traditional service with hospital leadership playing waiters and waitresses to the volunteer guests. Freeman President and Chief Executive Officer Paula Baker, Chief Financial Officer Steve Graddy, Chief Clinical Officer Jeff Thompson, and Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Baker delivered plates, topped off drinks, and even cleared tables to show their appreciation to volunteers for their efforts.

“Working across health system, Freeman volunteers plant seeds of kindness that make lasting impressions on our guests,” said Baker. “Volunteers escort them through the hospital, listen to their stories, and sometimes even hold their hands. Each volunteer has a servant’s heart, and I commend them for the hundreds of hours they donate to service. They freely share their precious time and talents with Freeman Health System, and for that, we offer them our deepest appreciation and respect. We love getting to visit with them at this time of year and letting them know what they mean to us.”

The event included presenting the winner of the inaugural Freeman Spirit of Volunteering Award to Karla Keizer. The award is given to a volunteer who exemplifies the true spirit of volunteering: self-initiated by choice, unconditional, selfless, and sincere service to others. Keizer began volunteering in February of 2014. She has donated 2,780 hours of her time and volunteers for three shifts a week in the Freeman West Gift Shop. Keizer is currently serving as the Freeman Auxiliary Board Treasurer.

“Freeman had 126 volunteers donate 13,723 hours of time during the last fiscal year,” said Tara Horinek, Freeman Manager of Volunteer Services. “This is a significant contribution from these individuals. At a time when nationally people are stepping back from volunteering, our Freeman volunteers are stepping up.”

Freeman is always looking for caring and devoted individuals willing to give their time to patients, visitors and staff of Freeman Health System. To learn how to become a Freeman Volunteer, contact Volunteer Services at 417.347.4603.

About Freeman Health System

Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2020, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. U.S. News & World Report named Freeman Health System the Best Hospital in Southwest Missouri for 2020. With more than 320 physicians on staff representing more than 80 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit


Lisa Olliges, Marketing & Media Relations Coordinator
Freeman Health System

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.