Ascension St. Vincent Indianapolis
It was 2016 when Ellen Mutzl’s Zionsville neighborhood newsletter mentioned volunteer opportunities at Ascension St. Vincent Indianapolis. She had volunteered for various organizations since her retirement but had cut back.
Volunteering at the hospital, she thought, might be enjoyable. She’s a main entrance greeter guide, working the front desk to answer questions and direct people to where they need to be.
“But she is so much more than that,” Dorothy Hitchins, manager of support and volunteer services, wrote in her nomination.
“It is easy to underestimate the importance of this role, but by recognizing the importance of Ellen’s work in this role, we are remembering the importance of hospitality and the values that we all hope to embody,” Hitchins wrote.
Mutzl does whatever needs to be done, whether that’s looking up a patient’s room number or restocking face masks at entrances. She picks up a double volunteer shift each Wednesday, spending eight hours at the hospital. Beyond that, she helps coordinate the Greeter Guides and “manages to pack more into her shift than most do in a month,” Hitchins said.
The hospital is large, and Mutzl gets her steps in guiding people to where they need to be. “I cannot sit still and do nothing,” she said.
She diffuses difficult situations (like a guest not wanting to wear a mask), helps solve difficult problems, delivers flowers, collects vases, manages room requests, helps coordinate volunteer teams, coordinates wheelchairs and more.
“She sets the tone on Wednesdays, and everyone notices when she is not there,” Hitchins wrote. “People in general seek her out on Wednesdays, often for a compassionate ear, funny story or as a sounding board.”
Mutzl enjoys meeting people and getting to know a little about them. And she tries to put them at ease. She volunteers in order to do something for others, she said. She has more than 1,600 hours of service, despite a pandemic hiatus. “And at the end of the day, she also has miles and miles of steps,” Hitchins said.
She plans to keep racking up hours and miles as long as she’s capable.
Or “until Dot throws me out.”•