As a newcomer to the Memphis area, Vito found volunteering helped him put down roots.

Pulling up roots and moving to a new place is never easy. But, for Vito Vella, volunteering at Saint Francis Hospital-Memphis allowed him to connect with new people and become an important part of the community after he and his wife made a decision to move to Memphis.  

“I came down here as a stranger from Virginia,” recalls Vito. “I didn’t know anything about Tennessee or the Memphis area. I transferred down here when my youngest daughter moved to the area. My wife wanted to stay close, so we followed her.”

After retiring from both the military and a corporate career, Vito needed new avenues to create relationships. “My friendships started with the church and then with the hospital. It was in 1985 that I started volunteering at Saint Francis. I had heard about the opportunity from my parish.”

In his 30 years volunteering at the hospital, Vito has had many roles. “I worked in tumor registry, accounting, administration and marketing,” says Vito. “But, I’ve been in the library for the last 10 years. It’s a medical library and it exists to help the doctors and the nurses as well as the patients and their families to learn about diseases and things of that type. I like the people I work with. This is a very nice place to work because everybody is friendly, everybody is cooperative — it’s like one big team.”

Vito has become a major part of the hospital and his dedication earned him a special honor — Vito was named Tennessee Hospital Association’s Volunteer of the Year in 2012. For others who are thinking of volunteering, Vito has some advice. “I’d tell anyone who’s interested to come here and just try volunteering. You’ll notice the difference right away. It’s a great place. You’ll learn new things. You’ll do things that you never imagined you could do. We have a volunteer here who is 101 years old and she works in surgery! Now she’s not doing any operating, but she assembles documentation and works with the nurses and the doctors. She loves it.”

To learn more about volunteering, contact Linda Knight, volunteer coordinator. She can be reached by email at linda1.knight@tenethealth.com or by phone at (901) 765-1808.