Queen's Honors Volunteers; Presents Ann Kemp with Ho`omau Award

04.23.2019

HONOLULU — The Queen’s Medical Center (Queen’s) recently honored its volunteers at an appreciation luncheon hosted by Robb Ohtani, M.D., representing the Queen’s Board of Trustees, and Art Ushijima, president of The Queen’s Medical Center.

The yearly statistics show just how much the volunteers positively affect the lives of Queen’s patients.  Queen’s volunteers donated 67,333 hours in service to patients and the community in 2018.  They helped discharge 4,522 patients.  They delivered 1,274 floral arrangements, gift shop items and book cart services.  The crafters made 1,840 baby caps, 1,049 oncology caps and 1,211 cardiac pillows. 

Ann Kemp received the Ho‘omau Award, which recognizes longevity of service.  In 1992, while working on high-profile and highly stressful cases as a paralegal, she wanted to find balance in her life by adding something different and more meaningful.  “I have been extremely blessed, and I wanted to give back and help others,” she said.  That’s what brought her to Queen’s, and this June will mark her 27th year as a volunteer.  At the luncheon, she received a trophy and monetary award.  Her name will be added to a perpetual plaque. 

Kemp volunteered at the hospital on the weekends and holidays, and looked forward to playing one of Santa’s elves at Christmas.  Today, she sews stuffed teddy bears for Queen’s pediatric patients.  Whenever she and her husband Greg visit their Florida home, she packs her suitcase with sewing materials so she can create and bring back even more bears. 

Volunteering at Queen’s has been a blessing for Kemp, too.  “There’s a camaraderie and I’ve made some great friendships,” she said.  “I love hearing the student volunteers share their stories as they study to become doctors and nurses, or go into pharmacy.  Over the years, you bump into them and they’re working in health care.  They ask, ‘Do you remember me?’  And I do!  It’s kind of neat because it’s nice to see them succeed.  When you see motivation in young people, it’s inspiring.  It keeps you young.”

The very active 60-year-young grandmother of eight lives in Kakaako and still works in law and also does real estate.  In addition to Queen’s, she volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, Samaritan’s Purse and Mercy Ships.  She spent a week working in a refugee camp in South Sudan and has assisted people in Sierra Leone, Togo, Benin and Cambodia.  

At the luncheon, Ushijima, who is retiring in January 2020 after 30 years of service, reflected on the legacy of Queen Emma and King Kamehameha IV.  “What we do ensures that the mission and values of our founders continue,” he said.  “That mission is to provide in perpetuity quality health care services to improve the well-being of Native Hawaiians and all of the people of Hawaii.  We do this through our C.A.R.E. values – Compassion guides our action, Aloha inspires us in all that we do, Respect and understanding are essential for the dignity of all, and Excellence is our quest,” he emphasized.  Looking out into a room filled with volunteers, he said, “You believe in the mission.  What you do represents actions from your heart.  Mahalo and thank you very much.”

Volunteers have been an integral part of Queen’s, starting with Queen Emma, who visited patients in the hospital.  This year, Queen’s celebrates 160 years of caring for the people of Hawaii.  If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, visit www.queens.org/careers/volunteer-careers, or call Queen’s Volunteer Services at Punchbowl at (808) 691-4397 or West O‘ahu at (808) 691-3197.

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