Our August Volunteer of the Month is a special one: 2020 Spirit of NH Awardee, Jaimie Adams!
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit NH in early 2020 and the State requested skilled medical volunteers, Jaimie registered on NHResponds.org and waited. She sprang into action in April when a long-term care facility within the South Central Public Health Region encountered a staffing shortage.
Jaimie volunteered her time and expertise at the facility for six weeks straight, working 3rd shift, 8+ hours per day, 4-6 days per week. This meant living in respite housing to avoid infecting her husband and 2-year-old daughter, and completing a 2-week quarantine between the end of her service and finally being able to go home.
Jaimie made a tremendous difference in the lives of the residents and staff during her deployment.
Earlier in the pandemic, Jaimie also conducted testing and trained National Guard and Public Health members on how to properly test and run testing sites through the Metropolitan Medical Reserve System. Before the pandemic, she was a valued patient and Veteran volunteer with Wentworth Home Care & Hospice.
Jaimie received the Spirit of NH Award (the top honor) at the 2020 Spirit of NH Awards.
At the time of publishing this post, there is 1 month left to nominate for the 2021 Spirit of NH Awards. We recognize ALL eligible nominees (volunteers, volunteer groups, and nonprofit/public service/business volunteer programs), but we wait until event night to surprise one especially remarkable award recipient with the top, titular award: the Spirit of NH Award.
Watch Jaimie’s video here, and scroll down to learn more about her story.
Interview with Jaimie Adams
How has volunteering factored into your life up to this point?
I have been volunteering in some fashion since I was 13 and I love doing it. I love helping others and bringing a smile to someone’s face. It is fulfilling to jump in and help out; it taught me to be a leader and has helped shape me into the person I am today.
How has your perception of the value of volunteering evolved over the years?
I have always seen the value so my perception hasn’t changed much. I do find myself having high expectations and I seek out the people and organizations that share my expectations.
What do you seek to get out of a volunteer experience?
I always look for a way to learn something new. Whether it be about myself, an organization, or individuals.
Now, having a daughter, I want to pass on the importance of volunteering to her so she understands how important it is to help others – and that you don’t always need to get money for doing a job.
Looking back, what aspect/moment of volunteering at the long-term care facility early on in the COVID-19 pandemic had the greatest impact on you? What stands out to you about the experience?
The bonds I made with people. Both the residents and the staff. Before this experience I had always been involved with emergency services, so the relationship-building was new for me. Having lost so many people in a short period of time, spending time with them and getting to know them and then they’re gone… that was the hardest part.
What would you most like people to understand about your pandemic volunteering experience?
It isn’t for everyone. You have to be dynamic and be willing to learn, pay attention, and then just jump in and help. This was difficult because there were so many changing factors, including that we were still learning about the virus. My background helped me stay safe and I was able to pass on my knowledge to the facility staff to make it safer for everyone.
What traits should a volunteer have when their role is to support clients through tough times?
Understanding, patience, hard work ethic, and self-discipline.
What do you find most rewarding about being a volunteer?
Knowing I was able to help out when so few could.
Knowing my daughter was watching and is proud of me along with my amazingly supportive husband.
Being able to look back at this one day and show my daughter that anyone can be strong and that you just need to be willing to help out.
Do you have any special volunteering stories that you are willing to share with us?
Being able to be there for the dying residents when their families couldn’t. Knowing I was the “chosen one” to be there with them as they passed and helped them on their journey.
What is some advice you could give to people who want to start volunteering but don’t know where to start?
Join the NH Responds website and sign up. There are some amazing opportunities and there is a great need for volunteers.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our audience?
Be willing to do the right thing, even when nobody is looking.
Click here to read a poem Jaimie wrote about her COVID-19 deployment experience, and follow these links for more information about the programs and organizations that Jaimie has recently been involved with:
- NH Responds
- South Central Medical Reserve Corps
- South Central Public Health Network
- Metropolitan Medical Reserve System
- Wentworth Home Care & Hospice
Don’t forget to submit your 2021 Spirit of NH Awards nomination(s) by September 3: https://forms.gle/o7rcyNybVgdU5Noq9