HELENA — Healthcare workers have been the backbone of the pandemic, and they come in all ages. St. Peter's Health in Helena has over 130 volunteers dedicating their free time to helping those in need in 21 departments, with one volunteer having 50 years of dedicated experience.
"I love the people, and I love working with the people, and to be able to share with them and help with them, whatever needs they have, I can help," said 96-year-old Helen Bunkowske.
Bunkowske began her nursing career in 1947 as a registered nurse through a Cadet Nurse Program during World War II and continued her studies at Carroll College through the Parish Nurse Program.
In 1972, she began volunteering at St. Peter's Health and continued to serve in the hospice program, and the hospital's "No One Dies Alone" Program.
To Bunkowske, she is happy to be still able to volunteer.
"it's just great that I can still drive the car and can still get out and do these things, and you know, I never dreamed that I could have at the age of 96," said Bunkowske.
Bunkowske says she continues to work for the patients.
"But just to care for these people, especially when they couldn't have the visitor that was to me was the hardest thing to think that they or in the hospital couldn't have a visitor,” said Bunkowske.
She added there is always a need for volunteers.
"There is always something to do, and there is such a need for volunteers in so many different areas, maybe it's a little tough, to begin with, but it is so rewarding," said Bunkowske.
Saint Peter's Health's volunteers have dedicated over 8,000 hours in the last fiscal year.
To learn how to become a volunteer, you can visit Saint Peter's Health website.