On Monday, February 27, 2017, a group of Mercy employees and volunteers gathered in the Trustees Conference Room at Mercy Regional Medical Center to celebrate the 99th birthday of renowned volunteer Marge Dziama.
When asked how she got her start in volunteering, the near-centenarian replied, “When I was young, I went through a difficult time and had a friend stay with me to help me and make sure I was okay. That’s when I first realized that people really need other people.”
Marge first put that sentiment into action in 1957 when she joined the Lakeland Women’s Club, which spearheaded the drive to build Lorain Community Hospital. Later, while working at U.S. Steel as chief metallurgical clerk – the first woman to hold that position – she volunteered at the hospital on Sundays. In 1981, she retired from U.S. Steel, an event that triggered even greater involvement.
“I was home for one week,” Marge recounted. “And I decided that was enough.”
So she began volunteering at the hospital 40 or more hours a week – and has done so ever since. In addition, she’s a member of the Mercy Regional Auxiliary and once served on the hospital and foundation boards.
“I also managed volunteer services for two years, but, at age 80, I told the CEO, ‘I’m 80; I quit,’” she chuckled. “Now I mostly do clerical work. I don’t work with patients, but it’s a domino effect: what I do eventually touches a patient. It feels good to contribute to making somebody’s life a little bit better.”
Dale Greathouse, Mercy’s Regional Manager of Volunteer Services, nearly runs out of superlatives in praising Marge. “She’s a unique and energetic individual,” he noted. “She’s very intelligent, caring, full of knowledge and always willing to learn more. We are so blessed to have Marge as a volunteer.”
The first recipient of Mercy’s Ruth Calta Community Service Award in 2006, Marge has a simple reason for volunteering:
“I think the Lord gave me a calling to help people,” she said. “When I depart from this world, I want to make sure that I’m all ‘used up’ – that I’ve given everything I can to help the community.”