Featured photo by Valerie Shelton – Joyce Morrelli with her family; husband Phil, daughter Jeri Swenson, son-in-law Danny Swenson, son Anthony Morrelli and sister Emma Morrelli.
By Valerie Shelton, Editor
Going to the hospital can be nerve-wracking and emotional for many patients and visitors. Some enter worried and confused, not knowing where they need to go for the proper treatment or to see their loved ones, some may even be in a rush with panic or are saddened or grieved. It takes special, dedicated and caring people to help these patients and visitors get where they need to go, and at Clovis Community Medical Center, many of these caring people are volunteers.
A true community hospital, CCMC depends on its local volunteers to do everything from operating the gift shop to assisting patients. Last year alone, volunteers donated 26,782 hours of their time to the hospital—equivalent to the work of 13 full-time staff members.
“When you think about those volunteer hours—almost 27,000—that is 13 full-time staff members and that can add up to a tremendous amount of money that the hospital doesn’t have to put out, so their gift is time which is so valuable to any organization,” said Kathryn Weakland, the development officer for the Clovis Community Medical Foundation. “We are lucky to have them.”
Leading the helm of volunteers is Joyce Morrelli, a volunteer at CCMC since 2003 who has volunteered over 6,000 hours so far.
Morrelli, who has also served as the president of the Clovis Community Hospital Guild since 2008, was honored as the volunteer of the year at CCMC’s annual volunteer appreciation luncheon on April 14.
“I’m just excited and surprised,” Morrelli said after receiving the award. “I do this not only for the hospital, but I feel like I’m giving a lot to the community and helping people every day, not only people who are sick, but their families. I’m able to help all of them and I find it very rewarding and I enjoy it.”
In addition to her many volunteer hours, Morrelli has also led the Guild in fundraising and financing several projects for CCMC. Under her leadership, the Guild has increased the number of scholarships given to Clovis Unified School District seniors, planning to pursue careers in the field of medicine, to three scholarships, and the amount of each scholarship has been raised to $1,500. The Guild also contributed $250,000 to CCMC to build the water fountain at the hospital entrance and another $250,000 has been slated for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The Guild is also partnering with CCMC’s foundation to construct a special wall listing the names of babies born at CCMC.
The foundation has also received awards from the Clovis Community Hall of Fame since Morrelli came aboard as president. The foundation received both the Ultimate People Award and the Heroes in Health Care Award in 2013.
Lowell Hull, the director of human resources at CCMC, said Morrelli’s efforts have been behind the recent success.
“She gives continuously and tirelessly to the guild and to Clovis Community Medical Center with true dedication and hard work,” Hull said. “It is my understand that she has been very active in the Clovis Community for a long time. A while ago, she was a volunteer with the Clovis Chamber of Commerce and she was a chairperson for the United Way. She is also very active in her children’s and grandchildren’s activities, events and sports.”
Cathy Hendrickson, the development coordinator for the Clovis Community Medical Foundation, calls Morrelli “the face of Clovis.”
“I know she does a lot of work behind the scenes and people really look up to her and respect her. I know I do,” Hendrickson said. “She knows everybody and everybody knows her and she is well deserving of this award.”
Weakland also applauded Morrelli.
“She is so humble,” Weakland said. “She is not the type of lady who wants the recognition. She is very much behind the scenes. She just wants to be in the background and take care of whatever needs people have and make it happen.”
Morrelli said she was honored to receive the award. She said she started volunteering in 2003 after retiring from working with the court system because she wanted to continue to be active in the community.
“I knew when I retired after over 30 years that I still wanted to be involved and I always wanted to be a volunteer at the hospital even when it was in downtown Clovis and this was my opportunity to do that,” Morrelli said. “I worked in the surgery waiting room and they asked me to get the volunteers scheduled and then, the next year they asked me to be secretary of the Guild, so I was secretary for a few years and then vice president for a couple of years and then president. The Guild has grown so much and I got the foundation more involved with Clovis Community Medical Center and really got the projects going. Now, we are just looking for our next challenge and where they need money.”
Morrelli lives in Clovis with her husband of 54 years, Phil Morrelli. Together, they have a daughter, Jeri Swenson, who is married to Danny, and a son, Anthony Morrelli, who is married to Brandi. They have two granddaughters, Jordan, who attends Clark Intermediate, and Emma, who attends Cedarwood, and two grandsons, Nicholas and Matthew, who both attend Cedarwood.