National Volunteer Week: Donald Gilbert's story
National Volunteer Week (April 6 to 12, 2014) is a time to recognize, celebrate and thank all of the volunteers that make a real difference in the lives of our patients, families and staff at the Montreal Children's Hospital (MCH).
As an Air Force medic in the Vermont Air National Guard, Donald Gilbert is used to spending time in remote, dangerous parts of the world. But during a recent deployment to Iraq, Donald was faced with a new challenge: working with children.
“A lot of kids were coming to the trauma centre where I was stationed,” he says. “But because I was used to working with adults, I had to develop a completely different approach for children.”
After his experience abroad, Donald decided to start volunteering at the Montreal Children’s Hospital in order to increase his exposure to working with sick children. During his downtime as a volunteer firefighter in Kahnawake, Donald tries to spend at least three hours a week on 6C1, 6C2 and the NICU.
“I think I get a lot more out of volunteering, than the patients do,” he admits with a smile. “I really enjoy being around babies and toddlers, because I have so much fun making them laugh!”
Donald also loves the challenge of trying to calm down a crying infant or restless toddler and as a father of twenty-two year old triplets, he definitely has the experience. “At this point, I can’t wait to retire so that I can spend even more time volunteering at the hospital!”