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Lifestyle // Good Neighbors
Christina O’Connor

Elaine Wong

Photo courtesy The Queen’s Medical Center

When Elaine Wong’s husband had to undergo a stay at The Queen’s Medical Center several years ago, she noted the exceptional level of professional, caring service they received. Having recently retired from her position as a senior customer-service agent with Delta Airlines, she decided to volunteer with the hospital, aiming to give people the same type of care that she had experienced.

“Volunteering has fulfilled my desire to care for patients and to be of service to others,” Wong says.

Eight years later, Wong is still an active volunteer and has dedicated more than 1,500 hours to the hospital.

For her work, Wong recently was recognized as this year’s adult recipient of the Kokua Pookela award, which honors top volunteers. An appreciation luncheon hosted by vice chairman of the Board of Trustees William Obana, MD, and president of QMC Arthur A. Ushijima was held in her honor last month.

Also sharing the distinction was Ashley Yamashita, a nursing student at Hawaii Pacific University who won the student volunteer category.

“They are two extraordinary ladies who demonstrate the compassion, aloha, respect and excellence (C.A.R.E.) of Queen’s volunteers,” says QMC volunteer program manager Beverly Parker.

“I feel privileged and honored to be awarded the Kokua Pookela for 2013 and give special thanks to all of my fellow volunteers for their support and camaraderie,” Wong says.

According to Queen’s officials, Wong was selected for the award because of her friendliness, dedication, efficiency and dependability. Known by her colleagues as a leader and a hard worker, Wong often does everything she can to make patients feel comfortable. As a volunteer in the Fleet Wing, Wong serves patients by escorting them around the hospital, providing companionship during their stays and discharging them when they leave. She also will deliver flowers, emails, newspapers and supplies to various units.

No matter what she is doing or who she is servicing, Wong strives to show “our patients respect, empathy, sensitivity and reassure them to feel comfortable and safe.”

“I know Elaine to be humble and not one to seek attention. However, she stands out due her dedication and commitment to our patients,” Parker says.

“I look forward to volunteering for many years to carry out the Queen’s mission and philosophy,” Wong says. “Patients are our No. 1 priority!”

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