Each year the Leo Vital Award for Outstanding Volunteerism recognizes a volunteer who gives of their time and energy in making a difference in the lives of Morning Pointe of Chattanooga residents. This year’s recipient of the fifth annual award is no exception, but her dedication surpasses many. That’s because Ramona Madaris is a polio and three-time cancer survivor. Rarely does she miss her weekly volunteer days, even now, around her treatment for lung cancer.
Every week, twice a week, for as many as four hours at a time, one can find Ms. Madaris working closely with the residents of Morning Pointe of Chattanooga. “Because her mother was a resident here for two years,” said Holly Metcalf, executive director of Morning Pointe of Chattanooga, “residents see her as an advocate. They look to her for help and guidance.”
Ms. Madaris has volunteered at Morning Pointe of Chattanooga for over three years. She led the ‘Operation Write Home’ project and started residents writing to soldiers abroad. She creates craft programs and most of all spends quality time visiting the seniors. “She is a model volunteer,” said Ms. Metcalf. “It doesn’t matter how sick she is or if she doesn’t feel well, Ramona is here. She is like a family member or an associate. She brings happiness to all of our residents.”
Each year, employees of Morning Pointe of Chattanooga, where Leo Vital resided for nine years, select a volunteer for this special award; celebrating those who continue to make a difference in their work for the residents of Morning Pointe. Leo Vital served as hospital administrator and executive director of administration of nursing homes and hospitals in Tennessee, Georgia and Massachusetts for over 50 years. He has a master’s degree from Syracuse University.
The Morning Pointe staff nominated 90-year-old Leo Vital in 2008 as the award’s namesake for his constant efforts to mentor young professionals and encourage them to pursue careers in health professions. Leo Vital is the father of Greg A. Vital, founder and President of Morning Pointe Assisted Living and Independent Healthcare Properties.
Ms. Madaris was speechless upon receiving the special plaque and recognition during a Volunteer Appreciation Celebration at Morning Pointe of Chattanooga. “It brought me to tears,” she said. “I was so moved and happy by the honor.”
“We are grateful to have such dedicated volunteers like Ramona Madaris,” said Greg A. Vital, president and CEO of Morning Pointe. “It’s that spirit and true commitment to our seniors that makes such a difference every single day in our buildings across the Southeast. Our volunteers drive our engaging life enrichment programming and they get as much out of it as our residents.”
This volunteer award was presented during National Volunteer Week which was celebrated at all 20 Morning Pointe locations across the southeast.