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Celebrating 50 years of volunteer service: Arlene Douglass and Carol Perry

Not long after Meridian Park Hospital opened its doors, enterprising residents of the South Metro area were pooling energy and ideas to support their new community hospital. By the summer of 1974, the Volunteer Auxiliary was formed, with 131 members who conducted fundraising projects, established a gift shop and started a library program at the hospital.

Fifty years later, there have been many changes making Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center what it is today. But among our volunteers, there are two people who have been a steady presence since day one.

Arlene Douglass

Arlene originally connected with the hospital after her husband, Dr. George Douglass began practicing there. With a medical background herself, she has always enjoyed working in healthcare settings. She volunteered for shifts at the gift shop, since they were the only ones that fit in with her family’s schedule, but soon learned there was more to the job than meets the eye.

“The gift shop is a place of respite for people who are dealing with the overwhelming parts of visiting a loved one in the hospital,” she explains. “Our main job is to listen to them and let them feel cared for. Selling gifts isn’t the priority.”

The relationships Arlene built at Legacy Meridian Park over the years have kept her engaged as a volunteer. In addition to working in the gift shop, she has been involved in fundraising, holiday decoration and now serves on the selection committee to award scholarships to local high school seniors pursuing careers in health.

If it’s a Tuesday, you’ll find Arlene in the gift shop, ready to listen and let people share. She says she plans to stick with volunteering as long possible, saying, “It makes me feel like I’m useful. It’s great to be able to get out and do something for someone else.”


Carol Perry

Carol and her family had just moved to the area from Nebraska when the hospital opened. Though she had been working as a registered nurse, Carol decided not to pursue licensing in Oregon and instead focused on raising her two young children. But she found a way to stay connected to her healthcare calling when she received a flyer recruiting hospital volunteers.

Over the years, she has helped with a variety of fundraising events – from pie eating contests to M*A*S*H themed gala with David Ogden Stiers in attendance – that drew in community support for the hospital.

Some of her fondest memories over the years all come back to the camaraderie shared with her fellow volunteers during that time, she says. “We were a family. You got to know each other, which created a cohesiveness planning the events together. We had a great time!”

When it was time to try something new, Carol found her new dream assignment in the gift shop. She worked in the gift shop for 21 years, earning the position of assistant manager, and then manager/buyer, and managing two remodels of the space. After taking a break from the gift shop to work on special projects, she returned seven years ago and has managed the merchandising duties ever since.


A legacy of service

Arlene and Carol are inspiring examples of the importance of dedication and compassion. Their commitment to giving back has touched countless lives and left a lasting mark at Legacy Meridian Park.

Brandi Porter, who manages volunteer services at Legacy Meridian Park, shared her reflections on the impact of their service. “Arlene and Carol’s dedication to the hospital is nothing short of amazing!  These two pioneered philanthropy and volunteer service at Meridian Park and have persevered, through many changes, to continue to support this facility.  What a testament to their dedication to serve!  They are not only role models, but valuable resources and team members of this hospital. It’s important that we recognize their invaluable service.”