Lena Losser says she would have loved to have been a nurse, if she had had a choice.
"But it doesn't always work that way," she said. Instead, Losser did the next best thing: she became a volunteer at Mountain View Hospital in Payson.Now, 20 years and more than 5,000 hours later, Losser has been named the hospital volunteer of the year for Utah. She'll be honored Nov. 2 at a Utah Hospital Association meeting in Salt Lake City.
Losser, 77, says volunteering "gives you a reason to get up in the morning;" it also provides her with a way to be around and help other people.
"I love to be around people," Losser said. "You get a lot of joy every time you come and do something for someone. I think you benefit from it just as much as they do - some days more."
Losser has worked at the hospital's information desk, in the gift shop and snack bar and as a messenger. She has also helped in admitting and has taken blood pressure for patients. Losser has held several offices in the hospital's volunteer organization and has been chairman of the Christmas bazaar twice. She is scheduled to work one day a week but usually ends up working three or four days filling in for other volunteers.
"I think she is one of our most faithful volunteers," said Shirley Griffiths, volunteer director. "She has never turned me down when it was at all possible for her to do something. Whatever she does, she puts her whole self into it. She is an outstanding example of what volunteering is all about."
Losser is humble about being named volunteer of the year. When the award was first announced (at a convention of hospital volunteers in St. George a little over a week ago) Losser said: "I couldn't even talk, I couldn't even breathe.
"I was just so overwhelmed. I'm just getting to where I can talk about it without crying. What it stands for - money can't buy an award like this."
Losser said she has no plans to give up volunteering.