“Volunteering is a great way for me to give back to my community.”
As a police officer, Bob Devereux had a career dedicated to keeping the community safe. Now retired, it was in his giving nature to volunteer at The Moncton Hospital, specifically in the Oncology clinic, where his wife has been a devoted nurse for 35 years.
“When I get up in the morning and know I’m going in to volunteer, it’s a day I look forward to, every week. I can’t wait to get in there.”
His much-valued role at The Moncton Hospital involves making patients feel comfortable, orienting them and serving them beverages, snacks and lunch.
“I think the most important thing we do is that we get to know the patients, get to talk to them and their families. When they arrive, if it’s their first visit, they are overwhelmed. They probably just received some bad news. But once they get in and see the staff that is in this clinic, the nurses, the doctors, the volunteers - we all try to make it as easy as we can for them.”
In March 2020, with strict lockdown measures in place, Bob could hardly wait for the day that he could get back to the hospital.
“When we went to orange and the red levels, we weren’t allowed in the hospital. As soon as we were able to get back in, I literally ran there. To me, it’s extremely important, especially in these times, to go help wherever I can. The doctors are putting extra hours in because of this, nurses are being run off of their feet because of this, the cleaners and porters are working extra hard. So, for volunteers, I think it’s still pretty easy because we only go in for five six hours a day once twice a week.”
Bob says with a laugh that he has “the gift of the gab” and likes to joke around.
“I like to make people laugh so if I can do that to just one or two people a day, it gives them five minutes away from what they are dealing with. I haven’t seen my sons in sixteen months so I know how it is with families that come in there, everybody’s going through something. It’s very important that no matter what kind of day I’m having, that I go in there with a smile on my face.”
For Bob and everyone who works in the hospital, the pandemic has meant changing the way they do things.
“We used to give patients hugs when we got to know them, and when you’re going through cancer, human connection is extremely important. While we now have to wear masks, and stay six feet away, we are more determined than ever to give great care and be more attentive to patients and their families. I know The Moncton Hospital is probably one of the safest places in the city to be. We’re all following the protocols carefully.”
Bob is highly aware of the impact donors to the Friends of The Moncton Hospital and all the hard work that goes into fundraising every year. He volunteers for another of the Friends of The Moncton Hospital’s important initiatives each year - ‘NB Doctors Cycling against Cancer”, a five-day ride in June that has also had to adapt to pandemic times.
“The hundreds of thousands of dollars raised in recent years has gone directly to patient care, to things like teleconferencing equipment, so that people up northern New Brunswick, Nova Scotia don’t have to travel in the winter time just to talk to their oncologist. It’s also gone to obtaining equipment that helps our cancer patients get quicker diagnosis, things that we might never have without the generosity of our donors.”
It seems like Bob’s contribution doesn’t go unnoticed and he is touched by the fact that so many people remember him.
“You’ll talk to somebody for ten minutes one day a week for a month and next thing you know they’ll be back bringing in treats, bringing small gifts, and thank-you cards. They come up to me and call me by name. Of course, Bob is pretty easy to remember and I do have a tag with my name on it,” he says with a laugh, “I myself, am not really good at names but I’ll never forget a face.”
What keeps Bob volunteering at the hospital?
“At the end of the day you feel wonderful, no matter what type of day you are having before you went in.” – Bob Devereux
Right now, you can ensure everyone in our community receives the best care possible by giving to the Friends of The Moncton Hospital Foundation.
To make a donation to the current campaign in honour of someone you know or someone you want to give special recognition to - a loved one, a frontline worker, the healthcare team, a volunteer - click the ‘Donate’ button below. On the "Donation Amount" page, select "I am supporting: Current Campaign”.