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After 21 years totaling in 6,000 hours of service at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, Shirley Wootton was named Volunteer of the Year by the Utah Hospital Association Volunteer Auxiliary.

"I think this gives special recognition to our hospital and the hundreds of volunteers here," Wootton said.Wootton has been a hostess welcoming people at the front desk. She has also worked in the intensive care unit and did hair care and styling for patients for five years.

"She has made it a personal goal to see that every patient whom she has ever taken to a room was smiling by the time they arrived at their rooms - no matter how frightened or worried they have been when first arriving at the hospital," said Karma Pectol, director of volunteers. Wootton works as a hostess for a five-hour shift every Friday morning.

Some 3,500 such volunteers work in the 28 Utah hospitals that are members of the association.

Mark Howard, chief executive officer of the central Utah region of Intermountain Health Care, called these volunteers "ambassadors of love."

Wootton was the president of the medical center's volunteers for two years, and during that time she traveled both in and out of the state, spoke to various groups, planned activities and conducted meetings.

During her years at the hospital, Wootton also raised seven children and was a volunteer at local schools and for a drug rehabilitation program.