New Volunteer Auxiliary Board President Rick Pierce Loves Learning
When COVID-19 swept the state, Pierce was one year into his role as Vice President of the GBMC Volunteer Auxiliary Board. Instead of standing back, he jumped in, joining the Nearly New Sale steering committee to both learn and bring a fresh perspective to an everchanging situation.
“It’s been fun,” Pierce said of working with Nearly New volunteers. “As we adapt, the pandemic has opened us up to a new way of approaching things.” His time with Nearly New has also given him a different look at a large subset of GBMC volunteers, an important view as he begins a new role this year as President of the Auxiliary Board.
As the world begins opening back up and volunteers are permitted back inside GBMC, Pierce looks forward to leading through the recovery process, representing “such dedicated volunteers who bring so much talent and energy” and, of course, learning.
A desire to learn was what drew him to volunteering initially. A personal connection suggested he reach out to GBMC 12 years ago. At the time, juggling his competing roles of husband, father to three, and sales manager at Honeywell as well as frequent global travel didn’t leave much extra time for volunteering. But GBMC was the perfect fit.
“I could commit to Sunday mornings, and really enjoyed spending time with patients one on one,” Pierce said. “I listened a lot. I think that’s the most important thing, just being present with people. It’s rewarding to be there with them, and it carried over into the rest of my life. It helped me to be better at dealing with life situations.
“I certainly got way more out of it than what I put into it. It’s just incredible to see the courage and faith of some of the people you meet.”
The care and humanity Pierce saw in patients carried over into his personal relationships with other volunteers, and his commitment to the group grew.
Pierce's three children are grown, now with four children of their own between them. He and his wife of 49 years, Bev, visit them as much as possible and as much as COVID-19 will allow. After 30 years at Honeywell, he is now retired. Leading volunteers at GBMC is the next adventure on his journey, and one he is entering with a sincere and excited heart.
“What I appreciate in comparison to other volunteer organizations I’ve worked with is volunteers at GBMC leave their egos behind,” Pierce said. “I really admire and appreciate the teamwork. It’s a sincere, amazing group. Part of it is we feed off the people in the hospital. If we weren’t working with such a great staff, it would be harder for people to come in and be as unselfish as they are. I feel so blessed to be able to be the leader of these volunteers.”